Saturday, 3 May 2014

Cim Ginger v Effetre 255

Well following my last blog about my need to find a suitable replacement for one of my all time favourite glasses, I had another little glassy emergency.  My 'Ladies What Lunch' beads and my 'Betsy Bird Head' beads largely have faces made using CIM Ginger.  Now recently it has been in short supply here in the UK, and when Tuffnell Glass's last delivery didn't include any Teresa suggested a few alternatives - they really go the extra mile to help.  So I left Tuffnell's with the glass I had gone for - a lot that wasn't on my list and a new CIM Ginger alternative.

I was eager to test the Effetre Silver Pink 255 as my stash of CIM is at a pitifully low level of two and a quarter rods! When I first pulled the stringer I was surprised how pink the little gather at the end had gone, when compared to the colour in the rod.

The two beads on the right hand side are made with CIM Ginger and the two on the left with the Effetre Silver Pink 255.  It is a little paler as a fleshy tone when placed on white, but proved to be a suitable if not slightly subtler alternative.  I will continue to hunt for the CIM Ginger, but now at least I know there is an acceptable and hopefully more constant supply of an alternative.  I'd love to know what other people think of it, so do please let me know. Enjoy your melting.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Falling in Love Again ....

I'm very lucky, very lucky indeed, I live only 20 minutes away from Tuffnell Glass who supply all my lampworking glass.  I paid them a visit earlier this week, hoping that one of my all time favourite glasses would be back in stock.  My all time favourite glass (well this week at least) is CIM Stoneground - a very good warm neutral glass, it looks beautiful etched and is perfect for creating soft shoreline colours.  Unfortunately this glass is as rare as Hen's Teeth in the UK at the moment and although I have a little stash I wanted to secure some more (you just never know when these glass producers are going to pull the rug from under you and declare that a line is discontinued).

Seeing my obvious disappointment (I fell short of actual tears, but think my chin did wobble), Teresa and Becky rallied around offering me alternatives.  As Teresa handed me a bundle of Effetre Sand I think I felt something in the pit of my stomach - could this be love?  It is a beautiful smooth glass in the rod and looks very uniform in colour, whereas Stoneground has slight stridations or colour shifts within it.  I left feeling better than when I arrived as I always do - is it the glass or the chippy banter of the Tuffnell crew I expect a little bit of both, having promised to try it as soon as I could.

Here are the results of my first play with my new all time favourite glass (well at least for this week ;)), fickle?  Who me?  You can see that the lone heart here is made from Stoneground with silvered ivory shards melted in and then etched.  I have left the Sand unetched at the moment but plan to etch it later.  The shards on the heart I made with the Sand and silver foil, the two beads either side of the heart are covered in silver foil and the outer beads have Iris Orange frit on them.

I have to be honest knowing that I can get hold of this glass with relative ease and that is should be stable enough to encase (although I haven't tested this yet) has made my heart sing!  Yes I'm in love again and yes I'm in love with Sand!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Autumn Design Challenge Reveal

It seems like such a long time ago now, since I received my package of beads from the lovely Caroline of Blueberri Beads and Lesley of Thea Elements.

I was excited to get started and the package was so inspiring that I made the first bracelet and necklace the morning the parcel arrived.  Keen?  I'll say so!

 The fabric used in these were remnants of silk used by my daughter in one of her theatrical costumes and I randomly zigzagged contrasting threads through it - the colours tied in well with the lovely ceramic heart and the bronze connector of Lesley's.  I added just a couple of my lampwork rustic rounds to the ceramic heart pendant and was immediately pleased with the design.

Living by the sea I wanted to get a little piece of home into my next design and driftwood seemed the perfect compliment for the rustic ceramic beads used in this necklace.

It's hard to see from this image but Caroline's urchin beads seemed to look just right!

The next design took a little longer to come together, but now that it is finished I think I am happiest with it.  I don't know why but I sat and looked at the bronze connector for hours before selecting just the right beads to go with it.  I knew I wanted the connector to serve as an off centred focal.  I am really quite pleased with the overall look and hope I did both Caroline and Lesley proud!

I can't wait to catch up with all the lovely designs - if you too wish to see what everyone else did with their components just follow the links below:

Here again are the contents of my parcel:

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

All Things Bright and Beautiful!

I have recently put myself forward for a couple of fairs and so have gathered all my various wares into the one place.  I managed to acquire a beautiful old haberdashery unit that used to house embroidery threads, it is just perfect for my bead and bracelet stock.

It was only when I looked at all the beads and bracelets together that I really noticed just how influenced I am by my surroundings.  The majority of my work being either sandy neutrals or sea greens and blues!

Now that Autumn is well and truly here and the bleakness of Winter is only a whisper away - watch out for a change!  The cold North Sea will soon be wearing its grey overcoat - guess what was in my last glass order - you got it 'mystic grey!'

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Brilliant Weekend!

I had a lovely time last weekend, while teaching at Tuffnell Glass in North Yorkshire.  I delivered a two day course to eight eager and enthusiastic pupils.  The first day was full of hot glass, as we made a set of lampwork beads.  Three of the eight had never melted glass before and their progress was incredible.

Day two consisted of wrapping wire and constructing our bracelets, before proudly wearing and showing them off!

As usual Teresa looked after us all brilliantly with home-made lunches of sandwiches and cake and kept us well watered throughout the day with copious cups of tea and coffee!

We will be offering this course again in the New Year, but if you can't wait until then you can always book a one to one session with myself in the Beadmobile Caravan or better still bring a friend and lower the cost.
Email for details

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Autumn Design Challenge

I couldn't believe my luck when I was picked to take part in this challenge, arranged by Lesley from Thea Elements and Caroline from Blueberri Beads, who both make exceptionally beautiful findings and beads.

I almost knocked the poor postie over when he delivered my package of goodies!  I wasn't disappointed when I opened them and these beauties fell out!

My mind began to race with ideas and I have already made two pieces using some of the components above.  I used the beautiful bronze connector made by Lesley at Thea Elements and the gorgeous ceramic heart made by Caroline of Blueberri Beads.  Do you want to see them?  Well I'm afraid you'll have to wait - the reveal date is not until the 2nd October.

In the meantime if you want to see Lesley's beautiful findings then here is a link to her Etsy shop:

For Caroline's beautiful ceramics then go to her Etsy shop

Of course then if you want to add some handmade lampwork beads you can always visit mine! :)

GaysieMay's Beadmobile

I have had a lovely and extremely busy Summer.  The main job has been renovating an old caravan (exact year unknown).  I went to visit the caravan in its very beige state but instantly fell in love and knew I had to try and acquire it!  A successful ebay bid or two and it was mine!

The work has been fun, tiring and at times more than a little frustrating.  The first sign of rain saw several leaks including from the old and perished skylight.  I did most of the work with my Dad - who is a hero and very calm, thinking though each stage, where I might be tempted to just wade in with a hammer!

We did all the internal work first by big beefy fella ripped everything out including the kitchen sink!  The Dad filled all the holes before we reinforced the floor and set about creating a workbench and glass storage unit.

Just call him Mick two drills!  Once the unit was made and in, we drilled through the floor to add extraction and feed the propane hose out of.  I then set about mosaic tiling the workbench a labour of love indeed.

My daughter kindly (and under only a little duress) covered the upholstery for the settees that we had kept at the other end.  I dusted my sewing machine to whip up some curtains and then Dad and I got busy again reclaiming bathroom cupboards and using lots of plyboard to make bespoke glass storage!  Big beefy fella was then called in to put down the flooring - it has been very much a family affair!  A labour of love and I think very worth it!