Buying on Etsy

As an Etsy seller I like to support fellow makers and suppliers, so as I can’t show you much of my current beading I thought it would be nice to look at some of the lovely things I’ve bought from them recently.

Nicole at Cloud Craft Sells lovely crafty things, and has some cracking ribbons – the pink fluorescent edges are rendered quite tasteful by the beige centres, and will work well with a version of my spiky beaded bead I have planned in tarnished platinum and neon pink.  The other two cotton ribbons will also support beaded beads, probably from last summer’s project.  It’s nice to find matte finishes like this – they work well with matte and tarnished beads, and tie well (unlike slippery satins).  Looking at her shop to write this post, I can see an interesting wooden cross stitch base which it might be fun to bead on as well…………

Some of you know that a while back I treated myself to a three month subscription to the CuriousityClub, from the Curious Bead Shop and this is my final pack.  I’ve enjoyed the surprise each month, and the beads are quite lovely. They are though a bit big for me, so I’ve found them tricky to use, and need to work out how to incorporate them into my usual work.  The colours are also more subtle than I usually go for, so I will try to be disciplined and won’t be renewing until I’ve actually used some of these. Instead I’ll perhaps hunt out a new monthly box, beady or otherwise, as I’ve really enjoyed the treat of these, (and before them the Lucky Dip Club) popping through my door.  It’s such a joy to come in from a hard day at work, or a hectic, wet school run, and find a little box of lovely surprises all for me.

To use the beads from previous packs, I’ve invested in a few more of Rachel’s lovely waxed Irish linen threads – in two weights.  They’re really interesting to work with, as they are firm and very waxed, and really hold their knots.

And of course I got a few additional beads in Sarah colours as well!  Some lovely etched magic blueberry farfalles down the bottom:


In case you were wondering, I don’t just buy beads and craft supplies on Etsy – I’m trying more and more now to ‘buy handmade’ for other products.  When boy 2 spilt yellow smoothie on my lovely raw wool iPhone case recently, I had an excuse to buy another one from Pack and Smooch – this time in red (it will be easier to find in my calico lined giant handbag).  The old case has protected my precious phone valiantly from drops and knocks, and absorbed the smoothie so well that the phone inside was quite dry.  And ironically when carefully wiped clean, the old one is yellow-stain free (but I’d already ordered a replacement at that point).  It’s a super case, looks good, works very well, and it’s a pleasure to buy a handmade product from an individual or micro-business – lovely quick, pleasant service.


And a recent mailing from Etsy which mentioned ‘Eco Jewellery’ intrigued me enough to make me click through – once I’d filtered to UK sellers to get rid of the US bias, I found these lovely earrings and bangles from MadeInTheForest.  I also bought some fab peacock feather earrings.  Obviously I don’t normally buy jewellery, I make it, but these aren’t something I would know how to make, were well priced, and they are such fun to wear as they are bright, unusual and light as a feather.


They got me thinking about replenishing my supply of sari ribbon – I’m using it more and more to hang pendants, as I’m finding it increasingly difficult to source interesting ready made cords  and chains that are of a good quality, but won’t impact the price too much – and I’m increasingly yearning for something more unusual, funky or individual which will complement my work, rather than hanging a hand made, unique piece from a generic, mass produced cord or chain.  That led me to YarnYarnYarns, and some lovely bundles of sari ribbon, plus some mixed hand dyed yarns as well.  When they arrived it was a lovely surprise to find them in a beautiful silk drawstring bag – so kind.  In the past I’ve done a kind of giant kumihimo braid to make bangles with this type of fabric, so I’m looking forward to perfecting that technique and maybe even working up a really chunky collar (with beaded embellishments of course).


And finally, Etsy in it’s wisdom then took ‘silk’ ‘ribbon’ and ‘hand-dyed’ and suggested I have a look Scahalrausch.  Usually Etsy’s suggestions are a bit unhelpful, as they tend to be for US based sellers, so mean prohibitively high shipping rates and pesky customs delays and fees, but as this seller is based in Germany, shipping to the UK was perfectly reasonable, and for now at least (Vote Remain please!!) no customs issues.  These hand dyed rolled silk cords are absolutely exquisite, and I am finding it hard to stop myself buying a length in every colour in the shop.image

Bye bye – hopefully I’ll be posting about beading again soon.  I have my Jean Power Secret Beadalong colours to pick after all………..that should be worth about 5 posts as I change my mind constantly.

In search of beady perfection.

Recently I’ve not had enough time, or indeed energy to bead as much as usual. Space birthday parties, work, gardening, singing, 2 year olds who won’t nap any more, and life in general have got in the way, and despite strenuous efforts to create time (which largely consist of ignoring the housework), my beading time has suffered.

On top of all that, as some of you will remember I’m entering the Stitch N Craft Butterfly Challenge this year, and I made a rather rash promise to myself that I would ensure that the finished piece was the very best it could possibly be. In previous years I’ve met the brief, but run out of time or energy and haven’t been entirely happy with some of the compromises of technique or style I’ve made to get the pieces done – you can see my set for the ‘Four Seasons’ challenge above, and although I was contented with most of the pieces, it’s only the rattle (which was a real labour of love in terms of reworking) that I truly love.

So what should have been a simple, understated piece (and still is) has become a ritual sacrifice to the beady goddesses of perfection, reworked and tweaked so many times that I’m starting to be a little fed up with the sight of it.  It’s been an incredibly inefficient creation process – not that beadweaving is ever quick, but this one takes the biscuit.  I have only three tasks left on it now and I can’t quite bring myself to do them.  First I need to add the final elements (which I beaded ages ago, then ripped apart, then beaded again, then added to the main piece, then took off again – you get the picture).  Then I need to hide the tiny Swarovski butterfly provided somewhere on the piece (I’m thinking of hiding it in one of my hairy beaded beads), and finally I have to search out all of the sketches and notes I’ve made along the way, plus the photos I took in the sand dunes last year when I got my original inspiration, and somehow compile a journal of the evolution of the piece to send in along with the actual beadwork.  Oh and I need to work out how I would like it displayed and get any materials required, as I know that has let me down in the past.  I can’t show you the whole thing, as it is after all a competition piece, but I think I can safely reveal a few piles of beads and give you just a flavour of the variations and multiple attempts for the beaded beads that form about 10% of the final assemblage!  I think I have beaded about 20 in all – I only need six for the final design and I have unpicked most of the ‘slightly wrong’ ones, although you may see some mauve and silver beaded beads appearing in my shop soon!

For my own sanity I think I need to do as much of this as I can this week – which seems foolhardy given that it is the school holidays and I am being gradually worn out by the boys, and that I am also singing Belinda in a production of Dido and Aeneas two weeks today, have nothing to wear and haven’t quite managed to learn the music or blocking yet.  This has been exacerbated by the Beadworker’s Guild announcing that their Challenge theme next year is ‘Totally Tropical’ – I have a completely lush idea that I really want to start playing with, but really mustn’t until I’ve finished the butterflies, the tutorials, and maybe even a couple of UFOs…………………..oh dear.  And Sewing Bee has started again, so I really want to sew now as well (I do need to make Belinda’s cloak tonight so at least that itch will be scratched)!