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A few months ago, I signed up with Nina Designs, to be a blog partner: your name is put into a pool of bloggers, and you may get picked to get the chance to design with some of Nina Designs’ fabulous components. Since I can’t find them in the UK, but I’ve been drooling over them, I jumped at the chance when I was asked to participate in the latest round :D

 

On opening the (very exciting) parcel, I did a happy dance – lots of pretty bronze lovlies inside: a leafy pendant, beautiful little connectors, some delicate spacer beads, and some earrings findings (not used yet!). Then I had a moment of pause: they were warm, gold tones….and nothing in my stash matched that colour. But!

Mixed metal is one of my favourite styles, so I got out my antique copper findings, some deep amber lampwork beads, and the obligatory Czech glass, and got designing:

 

ninacl

ninafull

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In centre is the Marquis focal pendant: very lightweight, yet sturdy enough to hang beads on
Hanging from the pendant are dangles with Czech glass and Nina Designs beads.
And on each side of the necklace are some ‘Bubble’ connectors which are probably my favourite components!

 

The materials above were provided as part of the Nina Designs blogging program. The author of this blog has not received any payment from above-mentioned company. The post above represents only personal opinion of the blog author.

 

Summer’s here in the UK (again…we had a false alarm in the beginning of June) and suddenly the sunlight has fallen on all the joys of a sunny British July. Ice lollies, wildflowers, lemonade*, little black insects that hop a ride on you when you’re outside and then invade your house.

And best of all, strawberries. Little sweet ones. Like these – remember them?

Strawberries - charms

Well, because Summer is finally here, I’m going to celebrate with my first giveaway-blog-hop-design-team-apalooza post. Five entrants will be picked at random to receive four of my strawberry charms (the sizes you receive will be randomly picked) set with antique copper findings. For free, yay!

So what do you have to do to enter? I’m so glad you asked (because otherwise I’d be talking to myself). Here are the rules:

1). Leave a comment here by the 31st July 2012. (This giveaway is open to all readers, regardless of location)

 

2). Post a link to this post to your blog/FB/Twitter/Pinterest account for an extra entry (one extra entry per link posted). If you do this, make sure to come back here and comment with a link so I can add your entry!

 

3). If you’re picked, post a picture with a description of what you did with the charms, and reveal it on the 20th August 2012 with a link to this post and the other entrants.

 

In case you couldn’t tell, this is my first time organizing one of these, so it will be an experiment for all of us. Let’s see how it goes!

 

*I only recently found out that in America, lemonade is not fizzy and clear like our lemonade, but pale yellow and flat. I always wondered how so Americans managed to make lemonade in their own homes, and I guess that explains it!

 

You’re a jewellery-making addict if:

You try to make more beads out of anything that can have a hole drilled in it (here’s a time-saver tip for you – walnut shells don’t make good beads. Ask me how I know…)

Your partner/roomate/cat hears a rattling noise in the night, and knows that it’s just you combing greedily through your bead stash by the light of the moon.

The plans for your dream house include a two-story bead studio, but the plan for the ‘kitchen’ is a microwave on top of a mini-fridge.

The local bead shop owner is your designated emergency contact on medical information

You find jumprings in your hair (true story – *shrug* I have big hair) , crimps in your cereal, and seed beads down the side of your bra.

Whenever you’re shopping for a new bag, you make sure there’s enough room inside for a set of jewellery-making pliers and a bead box.

In Lord of the Rings, you most identifed with Gollum and his totally reasonalbe love for a pretty, shiny object

 

 

Got any more to add? Put them below :)

 

 

 

You buy a much-longed for polymer clay extruder. After you’ve worked out how to use it and put it all together, the first thing you do is:

a). get to work on all those fabulous extruded clay tutorials that are all over the internet

b). invent a brilliant and innovative new way of using this great tool to make awesome beads

or

c). produce a kick-ass wig for your finger and make it headbang to punk-rock

If you answered c). then you have my deepest sympathies, because you share my affliction

Now it’s a pirate!


I do actually have other non-pathetic news though – here are new beads now in the shop:

 

I’ve been doing some experimenting – nothing out-of-this-world innovative, but new to me, and not from a tutorial (or if it is, I’ve not seen the tutorial!)

First up, I’m quite excited about offering made to order beads in my shops, and these two psuedo-sculpted designs (‘psuedo’ because I’m not a sculptor, but these cute nature-inspired beads are something I wanted to try anyway, and I’m finding them really fun) are the first up:

Strawberries:

You can choose from either a bead, or a charm with an antique copper hanging loop, and from two different sizes

Lilypads:

And the second thing I’m currently playing with are these ridged beads:

I was inspired by something in particular, but it’s not very romantic or trendy, so I won’t say what (nothing horrible though!)

 

I”ll probably be the 1006979676,6078598458th person to complain about Blogger changing its dashboard, but oh well. I do not like. Why are things on the side when they used to be at the bottom? I have to actually move my eyeballs to the right to find things now!

But regardless, I’m braving the confusion and writing a post. How lucky do you feel at this news, huh?

Anyway, last week I graduated from the dining room table to a proper desk (a birthday present) for my polyclay work, and it’s really made a difference to have tools in drawers, and everything within reach. Also, random pieces of polymer clay will no longer get into people’s food at Christmas dinner. Well, hopefully (hey, who hasn’t ingested a small amount of plastic these days? I once swallowed a marble; polymer clay is nothing compared to that)

I’ve also succumbed to a mania for making pinecone beads and lilypad charms from polymer clay, which are now on Etsy:

And I’ve managed to produce a cute little apple out of hot glass. I can’t deny that I’m pleased with him, though his apple-ness may be in question (perhaps there’s some strawberry in his bloodline)

His sister is resting in annealing bubbles now, waiting to go in the kiln.

 

A quickie blog post this time, to let people who are interested know that I’ve put up a free pdf on my site containing what are hopefully some helpful tips on doing a tutorial for a magazine.

It’s only made up of personal experience, but I hope it has some use….and hey, it’s free. You don’t even have to give me your e-mail address – just go here and follow the link to the page.

Let me know if you have any comments!

 

It’s been a while since I posted new bead pictures (then again, it’s been a while since I had new bead pictures to post, so…) but at last here’s a picture heavy post showing a little bit of what I’ve been up to :D

I’ve put these and more up in the shop, which is also technically new – I’ve changed the layout, and hopefully it looks more inviting now!
 

For the first time, I’ve been feeling like writing a summing-up-looking-forward post about 2011 and 2012, so here it is, in brief bullet-point form (because bullet-points make things both important and impressive)

Things I learned in 2011:

  • I can take professional rejection and not enter a fugue state. In fact, I found I’m not bothered much, and can pick myself up and carry on (personal rejection on the other hand, is still very ouchy!)
  • It is a bad idea to contact people you have fond memories of from school, because they probably won’t remember you. At all. (even if they did go to your house all the time, and you went to their farm…again, ouchy)
  • I’m not good enough to get on Polymer Clay Daily (hee, I know, who do I think I am trying to get on there…but I did have a hidden, tiny hope that has now been squashed)

Arty-crafty things I got done in 2011 :

  • Had 3 magazine tutorials published
  • Worked on the FHFTeam blog with a great group of people
  • Became better at lampworking (…comparatively)
  • Made jewellery out of my own lampwork beads (eeeee! that was exciting)
  • Made a lot of polymer clay beads that I, dare I say, liked
  • Set up a website and online shop for my beads

Things I have decided for 2012

  • I will just stop reading sites and blogs that annoy me, instead of wishing I could say something ranty about them. Reading them with suppressed irritation doesn’t do me any good, and saying something would just inject bad vibes into places other people like (which isn’t fair, because it’s my problem not theirs!)
  • I will makes what I like. So there *G*
  • I will try again to improve my photography skills
  • I will get a proper storage system for my polymer clay

Other news since I last blogged: I got a lentil press as a present – and I’m unreasonably excited about it, especially as I also received Nelli Rees lampworking book, which is lovely.

You can win a prize from me, by commenting anywhere on the FHFTeam blog and becoming a follower – here’s a picture:
Or you can choose to have a gift voucher from Continuum Designs instead, if you don’t care for bracelets. We’ll be doing a giveaway every month this year, and the team blog is getting full with hints, articles and a *lot* of eye-candy. Seriously, there’s a heap of gorgeous pictures (and there are mine too! *G*)
 

Yep, I’m having a pre-Christmas sale on my beads It’s partly in the spirit of the holidays, partly as a preparation for the new year – many of the beads on both my Etsy store and main site will be taken down after the sale, so if there’s anything that’s caught your fancy, now would be a good time to take the plunge and buy *G*

So, how does the sale work? Just put the code FESTIVE in the coupon box at either site, and you’ll get 25% off the total :)

 
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