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Happy New Year everyone!

Oh. It’s already the third week in January you say?

Happy third week of 2013 everyone!

 

Let’s see if I can bring this blog up to date.

 

In December, I made a *lot* of stock for a craft fair stall in Retford, which my parents very kindly ran. A lot of lampwork jewellery was featured, which was petrifying since my comfort zone is polymer clay, so I was very pleased to find out that pieces actually sold.  I realise this is common, nay, even expected at places where, you know, one offers goods for sale, yet nonethless it was very lovely news!

 

I also had a very limited amount of Chritsmas decorations in polymer clay for sale at Thorseby Art Gallery. They ran a commission-free space for artists to place their decorations for sale, so it’s not as though I got into a juried art show, but it still gave me a little thrill.

 

The latest of Beads and Beyond has a polymer clay tutorial by me in it, so if you’d like to see how bad I look in pictures, you can check out the Feb 2013  issue.

 

And now for a picspam of craft fair jewellery:

 

redneck

 

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bluelentil

 

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flowers

And here’s cat who has no idea who he is, what’s happening to him, or why he’s here: I call him Bemused Cat.

ca

 

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:

 

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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.

 

There’re a few themes running through this blog. 1). I *heart* polymer clay 2). OMG Lampworking rox!!!eleventy11!!! (yes, that’s tongue in cheek) 3). Go vegans! and 4). Yumnmnmnmnchocolate. Today’s blog post is on the first and fourth themes, although before you get excited, no, I did not combine them.

First, the chocolate:
I haven’t yet managed to find vegan choc ices, so last week I finally took matters into my own hands, scooped out little balls of Swedish Glace ice cream, and dredged them in melted chocolate.  Oh. Wow. It’s seriously the best chocolate treat I’ve had in a while* and the chocolate cools around the ice cream on impact, making a delicious little shell with creamy coldness inside. So today I got out my chocolate moulds, pressed the ice cream in, and once they’re refrozen, poured on the chocolate. Even better than before. Next up – putting a swirl of Sweet Freedom syrup inside the ice cream. Then it’s on to glace cherries, a dab of jam, and maybe (get ready to have your mind blown) chocolate, inside of ice cream inside of chocolate inside of ice cream, ad infinitum or until I end up with a chocolate ice cream boulder the size of a football.

On to the polymer clay. The results of the first stage of the Beads and Beyond Jewellery Maker of the Year came in, and since reader voting is over and I didn’t get past that round anyway, I can show my entry – it did make it to the top ten, which, considering the photo, was pretty great *G*:

 *I do have some new vegan Easter eggs to try today though, so I’ll have to get back to you on that.
And with that disjointed post, I wish you a Happy Easter, Sunday, Spring day, or whatever you’re celebrating today :)
 

I had to get in on the Art Bead Scene Challenge this month – the painting was stunning, and had a mass of green-gold tones, which I adore:

Plus, painted by a woman, featuring a woman (and not in the ‘woman as object’ pose that often permeates, well, everything) – it was the perfect painting to make me join in *G*.





The greens are more olive really – I still suck at photos :(

I have some gunmetal findings which I thought would echo the darker tones very well, and I brightened them up a little with some of my polymer clay beads made specifically for this challenge in lovely green and golds, with lighter leaf and vine motifs. The deep brown carved coconut flowers hint at the darkness within the orb, and I finished the necklace off with a polymer flower, again in muted green, which is a nod to the flower decorations on the central character’s hair.

 

There’s a new section in my shop – jewellery I don’t make jewellery that often, but I had enough supplies in that I’ve made some necklaces out of copper and my beads featuring wildflowers.

The reason for doing this is that I wanted to find a way to raise money for several animal welfare groups, and jewellery seemed a bit more accessible than bead sets.

I’ve set a base figure of approximately 90% of the purchase price being sent to the animal charities, although it will always be more than 90%; basically, the lowest amount I can afford will be deducted for packing and Paypal fees, and that will probably only amount to 6% of the purchase price, but I wanted a nice round number to write on the site :D

Here’s the direct link to the section: http://www.continuumdesigns.co.uk/shop/category.php?id_category=15

And here’s the charity I’ll be sending the money to this time: http://www.bramcote-rescue.co.uk (note: it’s not an official affiliation, simply a donation)

If you decide to buy a necklace for this cause, and would like the receipt from the donation forwarded to you afterwards, that can be arranged.

I’ll update the Facebook page whenever there’s new jewellery/items and a new charity, so please ‘like’ the page to keep track.

Also, I’d really appreciate it if you’d share this post or the link with anyone who may be interested. Thank you!

 

Sometimes, you want to write something that you’re pretty sure is not a good idea. It might alienate people, or rub them the wrong way. Am I going to publish this post? I’m not sure – if you’re reading this now, then the answer was yes. If you don’t like this post, I’m truly sorry, because I don’t like to make people feel bad.

We all have aversions to words – sometimes we have a reason for it, sometimes we don’t know why.
There are several terms I have a dislike for; feminine is one, girly is another. I don’t feel comfortable with the connotations that these words confer, because they imply that the reality of ‘woman’ is synonymous with, for example, softness, daintiness, and as such, weakness. I’m very much of the ‘gender as a mask’ school of thought, and I don’t believe that we need to ascribe gender stereotypes onto neutral concepts. There is no reason at all that someone with xy chromosones couldn’t wear dangly earrings, except for the cultural baggage we all put onto sex and gender.

Short point  I have two xx chromosones and breasts. I don’t need a ‘feminine’ necklace to make me a ‘proper woman’

Don’t leave me hanging here with this post though: if you agree, please share this (social media buttons are below). If you disagree, tell me why – I’m really interested and despite the evidence to the contrary, I’m not a judgey person :)

 

I know some of you may have seen these already, but I thought I’d do a bit of a post about some things I’ve been working on in the past year, polymer clay rings.

This is the latest:

And these were the first few, done quite a while ago:

You can probably tell that in appearance they’re based on a particular style of paper and fabric flowers, but made from polymer clay so that the flow and undulation of the ‘petals’ is kept in shape.

The ring band is also polymer clay, and they appear to be holding up well through my tests; admittedly, I haven’t tried seeing if they survive, y’know, being punched into a brick wall (you have to assume people may wear them at clubs, and well…you know what can happen after a few drinks) but they’ve survived being dropped onto a lino floor and being worn during general work.

 

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:

 

Bit of round up post (that’s right, whoopie pies get a whole post to themselves, everything else is shoved into one shared post. Priorities people!)

First news: I managed to get a tutorial into Beads and Beyond this month (June issue) which was lovely to see – I used lampwork beads by June of Beaujolais Beads to make a diamond motif bracelet. Here’s a variation, also using her beads:

Lampwork bracelet

Second thing: I’m still enjoying these carved beads, so more are going up in my shop and the Etsy shop. They’re quite calming to make, and I hope they’re pretty to look at too…

Third item: Yeah, there is no third item. Oh wait, how about a plug for an awesome vegan cake service (there’ve been a few birthdays lately), Vegan Cakes Direct. I normally do my own baking, but sometimes it’s a treat to receive something pre-baked *G*   

 

I received a lovely conversation recently from Gill of Bluebell Designs: she had purchased some of my beads, and designed some truly lovely pieces with them. Here’s a peak at one of her creations incorporating my beads:

Artisan bracelet by Bluebell Designs

There’s also a lot more eye-candy at her jewellery site, including some beautiful lampwork and semi-precious designs.

Thanks Gill :D

 
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