From the monthly archives: May 2011

This is first time I’ve ever managed to enter the Art Bead Scene challenge – I found that I’d made some beads that reminded me too much of the greens in the painting not to use them, so I created a focal to match, complete with little daisies and threaded that straight onto some copper wire to make a clasp. This way the focal and clasp are both highlighted, whilst the opposite side of the bracelet is balanced with copper jumpring clusters:



Ahem. Sorry, that’s the sound of me getting back into lampworking. Thanks to the lovely June of Beaujolais Beads I had my first play with the torch for around 6-8 months, as well as a go with some presses. It’s really strange but my first beads after the break weren’t absolutely hideous – you’d definitely recognize them as beads, albeit plain ones – but the session I did solo right after that I produced some strange undersea creatures, and wads of chewing gum on mandrels. After a few hours of cursing the torch I went back to it in the evening (it’s easier to see the flame) and finally made one or two beads that I’m pleased with (in the sense that at least they’re not hideous *G*). Why yes, I do have a picture:

And because I’m determined to take you on every step of my lampworking journey (STOP RUNNING AWAY) here is the undersea creature I made (totally on purpose of course):


I’m ashamed to say I love these beads (is that a British thing – being embarassed about liking one’s own work?) – I have a weakness for shimmery blue, so I really liked the way these turned out:

They’re in my shop and Etsy shop now :)


Guess what I’ve been doing with walnuts?

It’s okay, it’s nothing weird. A lot of walnut shells end up in my garden, courtesy of various other animals, so yesterday I washed and scrubbed some of them, hoping to do something crafty with them. I managed to drill a hole in one of them using a tiny hand screwdriver, although it was a fiddly job, and now it’s currently being varnished.


Another summer tradition is ice-cream, whether it’s eaten plain in a cone or as an elaborate sundae so this week’s design idea draws inspiration from the yummy colours of these cool tasty treats.

How about a scoop of rich vanilla bean ice cream (soy) drizzled with thick ribbons of caramel sauce to start with?Indulge without the calories with BeadsByStephanie’s focal lentil. Wire the focal with some copper wire, then hang the provided acccent beads from the bottom from large to small to make a trail of ‘ice cream’ drips for a real statement pendant!

Midgetgembead’s delicious creamy beads continue the theme, so link a few of these hot caramel drenched delights with some more copper wire:

And of course, no ice-cream is complete without a sprinkling of nuts and hundreds & thousands, so link a few of these crunchy looking, cream beads from helbels in between your other beads:

And for a bit of pizazz, the cherry on top: sals25 has come up with some cute sweetie style beads, and the red ones would make a lovely pair of cherry inspired earrings, whilst the yellow and orange beads can be used as spacers in the necklace to represent Smarties or M&Ms, and pick up the colours in the beads above:

Enjoy this tasty treat, and thanks for looking!



Summer means a trip to the seaside for many people (which is followed by 2 hours hiding from the rain under brightly coloured shop awnings if you’re British), so this week’s idea is a bracelet and necklace set with a nautical theme.

Taking this absolutely adorable sailor girl focal from Sals25 as a starting point, we get a colour scheme of deep blue and white, classic nautical colours:

Use wrapped loops to hang her from the main necklace chain of wired-up beads, and add one of Pandanimal’s frosted glass beads at the bottom of a dangle, to resemble beautifully tumbled sea glass:

To match the deep blue transparent and crisp white glass in the sailor girl’s outfit, these beads by RedsBeads echo the colours, whilst the trails of organic silver and ivory around the beads are reminiscent of rocky shoals, and pebbled beaches where the little sailor girl wanders. Wire wrap a few of these beads with silver wire; using the tail of wrapped loops to make small spirals of wire, and gently pressing these flat against the beads will mimic curling waves:

Now for the bracelet, a simple strung creation would be fabulous for featuring JustDesireJewellery’s irridescent shell bead. This shimmering focal holds the colours of the sea inside, and seems to catch the light in subtle waves:

And to make up the rest of the bracelet, try threading these oyster shell shaped white buttons by LushLampwork onto your stringing material:

And intersperse them with FiBead’s lushious deep blue spacer beads. Meanwhile, the rest of the frosted and silver dotted beads would look lovely used to lengthen the necklace:

Thanks for reading!



Here’s a departure from the usual Design Idea of the Week; an idea for the home instead. The FHFTeam members are a diverse bunch, and don’t only make pieces to adorn people. So here are a few ideas designed to add some fizz and fun to your dining table.

I think a lot of people would agree that no matter how good the company, a fabulous dinner party usually requires a little touch of alcohol (or at least a classy fizzy drink in a proper bottle!) so why not keep the drinks fresh with this stunning glass bottle stopper by Steampunkglass. With delicate three-dimensional glass flowers embedded within crystal clear glass, it may even become an object of conversation (well, it’s got to be more interesting that politics):

Need a centrepiece? In keeping with the theme of clear simplicity, how about this beautiful frosty bowl by DawnTurnerDesigns? It can be left as it is, or double up on functionality and rest special serving utensils and napkins on it at the beginning of the meal (just don’t try to serve your soups in it, okay?)

Speaking of decoration, a few of FlyingCheeseToastie’s clear glass leverets dotted strategically around the table, peering out from behind bowls and bottles, would add a lovely touch, and help to reflect the light:

Steampunkglass has another good idea for the dinner table; for those Asian-themed meals, a set of chopstick rests shaped like twisted leaves and made from clear boro glass infused with wisps of darker colours (and if you’ve already exhausted talking about the bottle stopper and politics, I’m sure these will perk up the conversation!)

And finally, one you’ve finished the meal and the wine/drink bottles are empty, Flyingbead has created a gorgeous dragon sculpture specially designed to turn old bottles into fantastical oil lamps, complete with fire-breathing…and placing a few around the room would produce a wonderfully cosy atmosphere for the next dinner party!

Thanks for reading!





Cool and refreshing


Raspberry Ripple


I usually make nothing but chocolate cakes, but today I needed a change and ‘made up’ a recipe: i.e. I took a variation on a basic non-vegan chocolate sponge, de-choco-fied it, took out the eggs and milk, and added a different flavour as well as some spur-of the moment toppings.

Here it is for sharing :D By the way, you get a gold star if you can work out what flavour the cakes are from my oh-so-subtle and minimalistic use of a particular ingredient *G*


Modified from a plain chocolate cake from the M&S Chocolate book.

The Cake:

100g sugar
100g soy margarine
juice of 2 lemons
225g of flour
pinch of baking powder
approx. 200ml soy milk mixed with a little cider vinegar (yeah, I know…but the vinegar makes the soy milk thicker according to ‘Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World’)

The Syrup:

Juice of 1 lemon
50-100g of sugar

The Icing

Juice of 1 lemon
150-200g of icing sugar

Pre-heat oven to 180C.

Cream the soy margarine and sugar together in a bowl. Sieve the flour and baking power together, then alternate between pouring the soy milk and the dry ingredients into the bowl, gently folding the mixture together. Add the lemon juice and a teaspoon or so of the rind (this is why I like to be organic unwaxed lemons – so the rind is okay). At this point you can add some more soy milk if the batter looks too thick, or some more lemon juice if it isn’t lemony enough.

Put the batter into cupcake cases and bake for approximately 15 minutes – the length of time depends on the size of the cakes, but you can test their readiness by quickly opening the oven door and prodding a knife into the nearest cake. If it comes out cleanly, the cakes are ready.

Leave the cakes on a wire rack to cool.

To make the syrup:

Heat the sugar and lemon water over a medium-level heat until the sugar has dissolved, and the mixture has started to thicken slightly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Prick the tops of your cupcakes with a fork and drizzle some of the syrup over them.

To make the icing:

Make a simple glace icing but using the lemon juice in place of the water. Once the cakes are fully cool, dollop or drizzle on the icing and let it firm up a little before serving the cakes.


A few notes: I’m a chucker, so some measurements aren’t precise. I tend to go by the ‘look’ of things and add liquid ingredients according to how thick the batter should look. You don’t want a doughy batter, but you don’t want something as thin as pancake batter either; somewhere in between is what you’re aiming at.

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