Time to catch up

I have not blogged for months. I was distracted by a number of things, including being made redundant from my full time job, battle beading, going in a wire retreat, finding a job and taking a holiday. 

Back to the beads now and here are some photos of what I’ve been making.  I had time to do a couple of tutorials, my battle piece is the mask and the most recent piece is the ring at the bottom that features one of new stock of cabs. 



Bead Journal Project – March

The last month has just flown by and I found myself with just one day of the month left in which to make my journal box for this March. ¬†I am getting ready to compete again in Battle of the BeadSmith and this has distracted me somewhat – I have been preparing and getting beads ready for weeks nowūüôā

This month’s box is again made entirely from stash and is dedicated to my good friends who I have met through FB and our love of all things beady and shiny. ¬†I have found friends, new reasons to buy more beads, new shops, and had great support in times of personal need from friends and family in the past and this is my little way of thanking just some of them. ¬†Please don’t be offended if you are not mentioned, there are still 9 more months of the year to go.

I started with my focal which is a handmade cabochon created by my friend Gloria (also known as Queenie to her friends) and you can find more of her beadwork on http://www.etsy.com/shop/flagrantdesigns
The cab is a stunning mixed media piece of poly clay, metal, pigment powders and resin.

I also included some stunning metal flower beads in a vintage bronze colour, these reminded me of my good friend Hilary from http://www.knottingways.co.uk/
Hilary is a gentle soul and the flowers always remind me of her as I know she has an amazing garden and often spends time in her den working on new ideas for her website and customers whilst being able to look out at the fabulous garden she is in.

The overall purpleness of the piece is because I love purple, as do Catherine and Steph.  Catherine is a great laugh, good mum and a total bead hoarder!  Steph runs http://www.absolutebeads.co.uk/ and is always looking for something unique to add to her site for the customers she has.

The three leaves in the piece are for Dr Nicole Stanley, and are a nod to her designs which are often leafy, floral and usually elegant and stunning.  Nicole works under https://beta.folksy.com/shops/HollybirdBeads

There is plenty of sparkle in the beads from swarovski bicones, rounds and also from some rulla beads Рthese are for the beaders in OTTBS who are as mad as they are amazing.  The rulla beads a like little building blocks from which we all learn from each other within this group.

The purple bead soup is what was left from a custom mix by Nancy  of NEDBeads on Etsy, and if you get a chance to get some bead soup from Nancy, you would not regret it at all Рtrust me. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/NEDbeads

BJP March

Bead Journal Project – February

So as part of the Bead Journal Project I have been working on this next entry, another box that I have embellished with beads, and ribbons.

I have this past month been suffering with a vertigo and so progress on any beading has been slow and hard work.

I started out with no deep meaning around this entry, rather I have a stash of foreign coins and I had bezelled around this one some time back and then it had lain unloved in my stash for several months. ¬†I finally decided it was due some love, maybe Valentine’s Day had some influence on that…. ¬†So this piece was born.

February is a special month, it is also the month my husband celebrates his birthday, and this year he turned 40. ¬†Whilst beading this I have been thinking about our lives together and how much has happened to us in the last 20 years. ¬†We met when I was 20 and I am now 41, we have been married for 14 years this year and our son, Sean, is 13 this May. ¬†We’ve lived together, been through uni (well Steve did anyway), bought our first apartment together, moved into our current house, changed jobs, got married, had our son, watched as he grew, watched as our friends and family got married and had kids. ¬†So many changes to think on in 20 years, and that is not including those in the wider world we live in.

So I present to you all February’s box:


Bead Journal Project 2014 – January

So I have decided to take part in a personal challenge and join a group on Facebook Рthe Bead Journal Project (BJP) who journal the year through beadwork.  There are not any substantial rules to what you have to create, but the main one is to commit to making a beadwork journal throughout the year.

My first piece has been finished already, whilst I have been off work on vacation this week I thought it would be good to bust some stash, get some r&r in the way of beading and also focus my thoughts on the journal idea.

Initially I did struggle with the format of my journal, then I decided that I would work on boxes, so I would bead the lids of the boxes and then decorate the edges and insides of the boxes to match the lids.  I settled on rectangular boxes and managed to find 3 of the same size cardboard boxes at my local craft store.

I am going to be brave and share personal information here, in the hope that it helps explain the beadwork I made and will continue to make throughout this project.

I hate the winter, more so than regular folks who moan about the weather, how cold it is, the rain is horrible etc.  I have suffered with depression on and off for nearly 15 years and after 7 years of being medication free I hit a low point last year in the winter Рso much so that since January 2012 I have been on anti-depressant medication.  It took a while to find the right medication and the right amount etc, and to that point I am still taking it.   I do hope that during the spring/summer this year I can get help from my doctor to come off the meds though.

My January BJP is dark in colour and mood, as I am currently not enjoying the winter season, and it hasn’t even snowed here in the UK yet. ¬†The three points of light in my darkness are represented by the pearls on the piece; my husband Steve, my son Sean and my parents (family); the second pearl is for my friends who help keep me sane and put up with me; ¬†and lastly the third pearl is for beading.

BJP January

I find that when things are at their worst in my mind, I seek the quietness of my bead room, chat to friends on fb and google+ and then at the end of the day my family are there to make sure I am OK.

The bugles to me represent the endless stairs that I seem to have to climb everyday, from getting out of bed to go to work, to being motivated to want to work and lastly to even be a teensy bit social.

The circles and whirls throughout the piece are representative of the chaos of my mind, as with most other people who suffer depression, I can find it hard to think about one thing at a time, often my mind keeps me awake when I am trying to rest and sleep by whirling around with the days events, future things to do and sometimes – if I am lucky – with new bead designs and ideas.

I hope that I haven’t scared my family, friends and followers with my openness. ¬†I do feel that mental health issues in the UK and other countries are still treated with a stigma attached, and that only be being brave and sharing how we feel can things get better.

Thanks for reading, listening.


2014 – The Start of Another Year

Happy New Year to you all

I am kicking off the New Year with a Clearance Sale in my Etsy store.  I have cut the prices on lots of items over 50%, I really want to sell these pieces so that I can clear the bead workshop and find the space and time to focus on new creations and designs in 2014.

The sale starts at 12noon GMT today РJanuary 1st and will run until 3 January 12noon.  You can visit my store here


Aside from the sale I am currently planning two large competition pieces, a tutorial for a UK magazine and hopefully my first US magazine tutorial as well.  Nothing quite like deadlines to keep the momentum going.

Later this month my Peacock Cabochon Necklace tutorial will be coming out via the Beadworkers Guild Journal, you can join the guild and get your copy of journal – link http://www.beadworkersguild.org.uk/.

I have been a member of the guild since I started beading, the journals are fabulous and the guild is run entirely by volunteers!  A photo of a similar piece is below, I have used a slightly different cabochon image in the BWG tutorial.  You can order your cabochons from my cab shop on Etsy РI will be listing more peacock cabs shortly Рwww.etsy.com/shop/wingsmith2012



So onwards into 2014 I go, I wish you all good health, wealth and happiness for the forthcoming days.


Beaded Christmas – A Book Review

I have been busy this week reading three new books by Katie Dean Рall are themed around a Beaded Christmas and the three sub topics are Gifts & Cards, Table and Decorations.  The books are published by Vivebooks https://www.facebook.com/Vivebooks

katie dean beaded christmas table

I found the ebooks really easy to read on my Mac, and even though I prefer paper for tutorials, it was just as easy to read on my screen, and even better was being able to zoom in as much as I needed to on the diagrams themselves.  This feature would be a huge bonus to those with sight challenges.

Whilst reading through the intro I found myself reading…. now that may sound odd but it isn’t really. ¬†With beading books I usually skip the intro and parts about materials, ¬†beads etc and skip right through to the projects. ¬†Not this time. ¬†The information and detail in the first section of all three books is brilliant and so easy to read, and sometimes we all need a reminder to go back to the basics. ¬† I was delighted to see that when I clicked on the video part within the book I could see a video showing the technique I had selected, so cool and so useful for beginners or someone needing a memory jog on how to get started.

I had to try something out from the books, and I went for a project from Gifts & Cards, the piece that is on the cover actually! ¬†I haven’t finished it yet, but a photo of my work in progress is below. ¬†I didn’t have size 8 beads in the right colours so I went down a size for the beads required and the design still worked perfectly! ¬†The instructions are clearly written, the diagrams are perfectly understandable and best of it was how quick the first wreath was to make, it took me a little over 30 mins. ¬†I can see that I will likely be making a few in the sizes in the book for tree decorations soon



If you are a beader looking for inspirational gifts, table decorations and sweet motifs to bead and add to cards (and I thought for bookmarks too) then you must invest in these three books, you will not be disappointed. ¬†For those that know me well, you’ll know that avoid wire work but I think I may be tempted to try a little after reading Katie’s book!

Thanks for reading.


Shows, Sales and Book Reviews

It has been a while since my last blog… sounds like I should be in a church doesn’t it?

I had been extra busy getting ready for the Big Bead Show at Sandown where I was selling my cabochons. ¬†I had a fantastic time and it was amazing to be the other side of the stand for a change. ¬†Friends new and old came along, as well as the Medway Beaders group I belong to. ¬†It was a very long day but was worthwhile so I will definitely be repeating it. ¬†I saw lots of familiar names, and now faces, in the Bead Show Awards and it was a thrill to realise I feel I “know” many of them through facebook and in person contact.


I hope to be at future bead shows and more news on that will follow once I have details confirmed.

I didn’t get too far along in the Battle of the BeadSmith 2013, but I haven’t let that get me down and I have signed up again for next year and had my place confirmed. ¬†I am desperately trying to come up with an idea, but it alludes me right now, but I have lots of time to think but again just the 2-3 months to bead the final piece.

I also had a stall at Spitalfields Market this month on a Saturday (pic below), mum came along to help me out again, as she did for the Sandown show, honestly it wouldn’t be the same without her by my side helping out, thanks Mum xxx. ¬†Although it was fun to peoplewatch the actual sales were slow and that made for a long day. ¬†I have to decide if I will go back in December, I think I will wait on the weather nearer the time to help with that decision. ¬†There were a lot of very similar, if not same, stalls there stocking the same things – mostly Chinese imports with bargain basement prices and for me with my ¬†handmade, time intensive, labour of love work it was not a fair battle.


I have been asked by the fabulous Katie Dean to review her new books, and so my next blog will be about those. ¬†I was fortunate enough to meet Katie in person at Sandown and to see her battle piece as well. ¬† Katie bought one of my cabochons and I am nervously waiting to see what she does with it… ¬† More on that can be found here on Katie’s blog. ¬†http://beadflowers.co.uk/2013/10/a-quick-update/