Wednesday, 31 December 2008

My goodness!

A belated Happy Christmas to you all.

Where did November and December go..?! I didn't have very much torch time. Either I was ill, or the girls were so it hasn't been very productive toward the end of the year but I hope 2009 presents me with much more time to experiment.

I managed to get some cufflinks made for James, which leads me nicely to 2009 beady resolutions...

More beads, jewellery and gifts for men aaaaaaaand, at last I got my hands on a copy of this book!

to have mixed media designs.

I hope 2009 is a healthy and prosperous year for everyone. Warmest wishes!

Monday, 27 October 2008

73, and many more!!

Here are some beads I got done last week, and strung for my mum as it's her birthday a week today - 73!! I've used sterling silver clasp, chain, and beads and some tiny amethyst beads I bought about a year ago that I've had in mind to use on something for my mum. I think she'll be getting a matching bracelet for Christmas!! They're strung on hand painted ribbon from Diane of SowZere Designs

Hope mum likes it!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Larger picture of Japanese Silk

You see! Like waiting for a bus, there are none for ages then three come along together!!

Right, I've been having a a nightmare with formatting today (sorry for those of you who get alerts when I've been playing around with the posts and wondering what on earth I'm up to - You know who you are!!)

Anyway, I've given up trying to upload a larger picture of Japanese Silk in my first blog of the day, so I'm uploading it here :-D


Hmmmm.... I've been tagged!

I've been tagged by Becky (Chameleon Designs) and Kelly (KEBO Jewellery).  To explain...

1. Link to your tagger and display these rules on your blog
2. Share 7 facts about yourself - 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've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

OK, 7 facts about me!!

1. I was named after a famous tennis player
2. I was born in London
3. I'm 5 feet 10 inches tall (no idea what that is in meters)
4. I can read text as quickly upside down as I can when it's the right way up
5. I playe din Centre, Wing Attack and Goal Attack for the school netball team
6. Apparently I snore
7. I sleepwalk

My lucky 7 to be tagged are:

So sorry!

I really don't know where the time goes!! I've been doing some collaborative work with Lynn Davy (Nemeton) a UK designer, for a ISGB/Bead & Button competition, the closing date of which is February 1st, but obviously I've needed to get the beads to Lynn (they arrived in the UK yesterday) so that she has time to do her seed bead and stringing magic with them to turn them into our representation for the Four Elements.

Last week, I received my complimentary copy of Kimberley Adams : Verre et Flamme - Creation de perles de verre, and although my beads are credited to Billy Jean Lewis (Lewis is my maiden name, Billy...? *sigh*)  they are mine, all mine and appears on pages 46 and 125.

And there's more!

A project titled "Japanese Silk" appears in this months (November, 2008) edition of Step by Step Beads magazine, and it features my focal bead - which was originally titled Chinese Silk but the mag changed it.

"To get your creative juices flowing here are a few of
the enticing projects you'll find in the upcoming
November/December issue:

Japanese Silk: As elegant as a cherry blossom, this pearl and seed bead necklace features a lovely lampworked pendant"

I'm happy with that description :-D

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Love is in the air...

Wow!! That felt like a very long time away. Daisy is back at school, in the afternoon as well as morning now, and I think it has been a shock to both Ruby and I how quiet the place is without her around. Well.. as quiet as it can be with Ruby demanding to be entertained in between wandering around saying forlornly how much she misses Daisy.

Have some pictures to share with you anyway :-D

As the summer has been all about having fun, Daisy requested some funny face beads so I had a play and made these...

And this is also my first attempt at a fish bead. Appropriately, he has quite a trout pout!

And more firsts!! My oldest friend, Louise, gets married on September 20th in the Isle of Wight to Brett (congratulations you two!!!!) and she asked me if I would make the hairvines for her and her bridesmaid to wear on the big day. I've combined some lampwork beads with swarkovski crystals and this is what I came up with. I've never tried anything like this before, but found a couple of pictures of hairvines on some wedding sites and worked out how they were made. Thanks also to the ladies on the Bead Buddies forum who steered me in the right direction for a swarkovski crystal supplier and what gauge wire I'd need. You're all stars!

The bride:

The bridesmaid:

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Summer time, and the living is easy.... (unless your children are on their school vacation)

I have LOADS of photos to share, and tales to tell but am not getting chance while entertaining my offspring. Normal service will resume by the month end, when school re-starts.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Warm and fuzzy day...

The day started early getting a packed lunch ready for Daisy to take with her to school as she had her first school day trip, to a farm. She was so excited, it made my heart swell. It was also going to be the first day of all her 4 years where she was out of my sight for a full day in the care of someone else. Ruby and I waved her off bravely, fighting back the tears... Daisy ran onto the bus and didn't even give us a backward glance. She did admit when she got home last night that she might have missed us just a little bit, but she had had a very good time riding a pony (it went too slow, she wanted it to go faster, but the bumping about had hurt her bottom a little bit... LOL!) and she had seen pigs, and goats, and sheep and had waved at the farmer.

Checking into my blog comments last night, I also made two warm and fuzzy discoveries.

The first was from Michele at Hedgeland Glass Gems. She had very kindly nominated me as one of her five for an award 'Sweet Home Blogger - for sharing Beauty, Love and Joy

Now I in turn must nominate 5 people. I'll have names ready in my next blog-post as I'd like to take some time to think about it. In the meantime, please have a read of Michele's blog and see the other four bloggers she has nominated.

Also, Clare of Beads By Clare Scott nominated me as one of her five for the "Arte Y Pico" Award which is The Creativity and Art Award.

Again, I'm considering names to pass this award on to. The responsibility is overwhelming :-D I shall be back with names in a few days with my next update.

Michele, Clare - bless you both. I'm truly honoured.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Le vin.... lilac?

Sue, another wonderful Bead Buddies member, commissioned me to make a rather special gift - a winestopper for a 15th wedding anniversary present. She told me her friend liked Renie Mackintosh and could I create something with that in mind. I knew the colours used in a lot of the designs, so we chose a lilac, white and black theme. I also suggested I had some roses... Here's the end result.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Trees & Vines

We had the mother of all thunder and lightning storms early evening yesterday. We were sure there would be a power cut - not goods news following 4 hours at the torch making tree and vine beads. The beads had been put on a longer soak as the biggest bead was just under 40mm and the storm starting just as the kiln would have begun ramping down.

Fortunately, there was no power cut, and this is what I collected from the kiln this morning... Not a bunch of frit as had been expected!

This is the largest...

My friend Petra wants a set of beads in turquoise, white and purple but not sure this is what she wants...

And this... My tree beads are usually lentil shape so experimenting...

Monday, 9 June 2008

Blushing Daisy

Daisy has been pleading with me to make pink beads so she can have a necklace. I made this set - unsure whether to etch them. Anyway, these will be strung on a pink leather thong to make a very girlie necklace!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

A difficult task...

A little image heavy!

Sooz, of the Bead Buddies forum, came up with the idea of everyone contributing toward making Barbara Windsor a bracelet, as she'd heard that BW had lost a favourite bracelet some time back. As so many people wanted to get involved, this turned into making a piece of jewellery for various characters from the soap opera, Eastenders.

I chose Dot, and this is the pendant I created for her. The pendant is on an 18 inch snake chain - don't think you can see it in the photo.

I found it quite tricky! Originally, I had three of the focals on a silver wire choker but it didn't look right. So I made this pendant. Fortunately, I now have two focal beads I can add to my site this weekend - That's a silver lining!!

We also have a challenge/swap running on BB's whereby we make two mushrooms from whichever media we choose, and send it to two BB members and they reciprocate. These are my mushrooms, going to Sooz and Colette. I won't say who is getting which because I can't remember whose envelope each mushroom went in (and it would spoil their surprise if they read this blog before getting their little envelopes!)

And last, but not least, I had a request for a set of orange beads for someone's mum. I don't work with orange very often, but I hope she likes these.

And these are for the young lad who requested the beads for his mum. I thought I'd try and make some "man" beads as I know he makes jewellery too and thought he might like to make something for himself.

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Great Colour Resource

Just wanted to mention this blog Kandice, through her blog, is putting together a fantastic colour resource. It's such a well written blog, and showcases beautiful beads.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Scheduled to be in print!!!!

There is an extremely talented UK seed bead artist who goes by the name of Lynn Davy (you may also know her as Nemeton). Lynn is published regularly in UK and US bead magazines and informs me the publication Step by Step Beads will be featuring a necklace she has made with one of my lampwork focals named Chinese Silk. The 'Chinese Silk' necklace will feature in their 'ethnic' inspired issue in November.

Here is the stand-alone focal...

And this is Chinese Silk after Lynn worked her magic...

Doesn't it look sublime?

You can see more of Lynn's fabulous creations on her website and Etsy store

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Quelle surprise...!

Wow! I had a wonderful piece of work arrive in the post yesterday from Valérie (Luz Bijoux Creations) Valérie and I have exchanged emails and blog mentions and I sent her a set of beads. Yesterday, I was the recipient of a beautiful piece of work

Valérie is such a talented jewellery artist. She runs features on her blog in both French and English so please have a read... You can see a few examples of my work showcased there also and blurb on how I got started!

Monday, 26 May 2008

It has been a while....

Congratulations Griet and Quinton! At long last they have done the deed and Griet has taken on the task of trying to make an honest man of Q. A life time of love and happiness to you both.

So, where have I been? The sun shines, we dig out out our summer clothes and what happens? Everyone catches a cold!! The girls have been ill, James has been ill, now I'm down with the lurgy too. Hoping to re-stock my site with new beads - just need to stop sneezing first. Normal bead service will resume soon!!

In the meantime, I did a prize draw on the Bead Buddy forum and Mary aka Balrogz won this bead... I love the colours in this bead, and the pleat effect of the white. Can't wait to see what Mary does with it.

Keeping myself out of mischief while not being able to sit at the torch, I've been reading through blogs and discovered

For those seriously addicted to art beads, check out

You'll find:
  • interviews with bead artists and jewelry designers who use art beads in their work.
  • monthly design challenge
  • "As the Bead Turns", a round up of the best posts from some of ABS's favorite blogs
It's a utopia of beadiness (not only glass, there are many, many medias featured)!

Who is "Art Bead Scene"? Heather Powers, Melanie Brooks Lukacs, Cindy Gimbrone, Elaine Ray, Tari Sasser.

And what Art Bead Scene all about? As the blog says, "Art Bead Scene is an interactive blog with the goal of uniting bead artists of all materials and the jewelry designers who use art beads in their work."

Sarah Hornik is the current featured artist. Check out the delicious eye candy accompanying the interview.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

I have been blogged...

Valérie of Luz Bijoux is featuring me on her blog at the moment. It is in English, so pop across and have a read

I have also been reminded to join L'Association des Perliers d'Art de France. It has been my intent to join since arriving in France last Autumn, but as we still have no income we've been prioritising our expenditure. L'Association des Perliers d'Art de France has been instrumental in having a book published on French beadmakers (in which I'm hoping to feature). You can find many talented glass artists listed on their website (see web listing). It would provide tremendous opportunity to showcase my work, so this has nudged me to move applying for membership to the top of my priority list.

And non-beady...

We had a wonderful afternoon with the girls at Citadelle de Montmédy Sunday afternoon. It's less than a 15 minute drive from where we are, although a different commune. The weather has been wonderful here since Thursday. It has given me a glimmer of hope that Summer is on it's way.

Here are my little darlings modeling their sunglasses...

And this is a view from the Citadelle...

You can find a great aerial view of Citadelle de Montmédy here

Friday, 25 April 2008


We had a wonderful day at the park yesterday with the girls. The sun was shining, it was a very warm 18 degrees and the day had "park" written all over it. Daisy and Ruby were climbing trees (unfortunately I didn't have my camera, but when grandpa downloads his pictures I'll add one to this post) and there is also an athletics section to the park and I showed Daisy and Ruby "how to do" the long jump. It was so warm, I was wearing knee length trousers... Hadn't realised how abrasive sand can be!! After a few hours at the park, we had a short drive to our main shopping complex which houses a Haagen Dazs cafe, so the girls had an ice-cream and chocolate brownie, and James and I were very good sticking with our diet and had a water and orange juice respecively :-D We had a great time, and Daisy and Ruby were asleep within minutes of their heads hitting the pillow. They were awake very early this morning though, so we're having a quite day doing jigsaw puzzles and crayon-ing.

James has gone into Luxembourg today for a lunch with someone who may have some work for him. Here's hoping!! It has been a long time since we had a regular income and funds are now running very low.

When James is out, I can't make any beads, but I can upload photo's so I've been updating the albums on Flickr (and I'd hoped Facebook, but I keep getting an error message :-( ). Here's one set I made from a bunch of beads last week. I love the classic reaction of turquoise and ivory and rather predictably, have called them Classico...

I don't know if maybe I need to move away from dotty beads again for a spell and re-visit the sculpted focals I so enjoyed making at the end of last year...

To be honest, it seems the case that when I sit at the torch, I'm subconciously driven to making a set of dotty beads, or a tree bead, or a sculpted focal before my conciousness engages and even realises it. I find I can't "force" myself into making a specific type of bead, I can't sit down and say "Right, I'm making this kind of bead today" because I usually end up with a jar full of water and frit. Maybe that's lack of discipline, I'm not sure. It is interesting though. I stand in front of my rack of glass, pulling out colours not knowing what is to become of them... Maybe that's all part of this glassy madness!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Vive le Forum!

I am very slowly finding Forums based in mainland Europe where jewellery artists congregate. Another very friendly forum I have found, on recommendation of Valérie (Luz Bijoux) and Laurence (Laulo) is Beadouillerie. The work is beautiful. Even if you've not spoken/read French since your school days, hop over and take a look at the work :-D You will be impressed.

I am trying to negotiate the boards to find the correct place to upload images of jewellery and beads... It is taking me a while :-D I think I repeatedly post in the wrong sections on Histoire de Perles, and my poor French makes people wince, but everyone is so encouraging, it is wonderful.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Blooming marvellous...

I passed up the opportunity to lock myself away in the cellar this afternoon, as the weather is so glorious.

Daisy, Ruby and I took the camera into the wilderness that is the garden (that's my way of warning you this Post may be image heavy and quite possibly boring to all but me!!!), and took some photo's to help me with colour alchemy on my tree beads.

Additionally, I really want to do a series of nature inspired beads, but not being into florals, I need to find another way to interpret flora and it's beautiful colours.... Watch this space.

I might create an album set in Flickr to store the rest of this afternoon's photos otherwise you might get really bored :-D

And Daisy insisted we had a photo of the tree-house Grandpa is building...

I was also able to exchange a few emails with Teresa Laliberté yesterday. She has posted for sale through her Etsy shop, an absolutely incredible tutorial on her Willendorf style goddess. The detail she has put into the tutorial is truly outstanding. I am really looking forward to attempting to make a goddess in this style over the next week. If you would like to see more of Teresa's art, her Lavender Creek website is listed on recommended websites to visit. I hope to attend one of Teresa's classes one day. I should start saving for one to one tuition with her in Germany :-D

And not forgetting to mention, my friend in Toulouse, Laurence (or Laulo to admirers of her jewellery) now has an English version of her blog. See the recommended blog links...

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Is Spring springing..?

We have woken up to such a bright, beautiful, sunny day. It's absolutely gorgeous outside. I feel as though my internal batteries are recharging already. It's amazing how a little sunshine cheers you, isn't it? I'm happy, even though my first tempt at a mermaid didn't go so well. She wasn't the most attractive thing anyway, and she cracked in the kiln. Some things aren't meant to be... but never mind! The sun is shining!

And this chap came over to say hello to us this morning. Our neighbours horse (one of two). We aren't quite sure what his name is, but now I have such a nice photo of him I shall try to find out.

And how is this for a view...?

Took this photo from the hill leading up to the woods. You can see the in-law's house nestled amongst the trees (three storey brown house in the middle of the photo). Isn't it a beautiful setting? How can you not be inspired by nature?