Finished beadwork.

As any beader will know, no matter how much jewellery they make, there will always be outfits with nothing to match, and even more pieces which never get worn. Perhaps they are too precious, or too extravagant (there is a definite limit to how much crystal I can wear on the school run or in the office), or perhaps the colours are just wrong. I try and focus my work both for myself and my shop on colours and combos which are wearable, but I often find that because I work in colours rather than neutrals the finished pieces are limited to one (or no) outfits in my wardrobe. Often the beads take over, and I end up beading a lime and orange ring because it looked amazing, even though the two colours I never wear are green and orange. And before you ask, I know they will look good with brown but I never wear that, and if I wear with black I will need other lime and orange things to go with them…..
So recently I’ve been turning my thoughts to how to display the bits and bobs of beadwork that I don’t wear very often. Items I wear a lot (sea anenome, beaded beads, CGB bangles, anything pendanty tend to live in my bedroom, and go in and out of wear with the seasons, but the remainder are a bit lost. Previously they’ve been tucked away in cupboards, or in a box on my desk (it has a clear top so I can see the pretties, but inevitably things are piked on top). Beaded beads live in a lovely polished steel bowl, but again have a tendency to disappear under a pile of beads in little bags when I’m behind on tidying up or putting away deliveries. It’s such a shame, as I have lovely pieces that I almost forget I ever made just hiding away – they can’t influence me if I can’t see them, and I’m definitely less likely to wear them or develop ideas from them.
So last week on the way to bead group I passed a Muji, and popped in and treated myself to a lovely display box.

I’ve been mulling them over for a while, but let’s face it I could buy lots of beads with that money (OK a few beads, not that many really, they’d fit in the palm of my hand), but I was feeling extravangent. Yesterday I filled it up, and I’m quite pleased.


Yes, it isn’t perfect, and there still remains the question of where it should live (I really wanted something to hang on the wall above the desk, but couldn’t find anything), so for now it is sitting on a pile next to the messy desk and behind the inevitable toys (prow of pirate ship on right!).


It only really works for pendants, beaded beads and smaller pieces, but as I have a short attention span I have loads of those, and it’s basically pretty much full already. It won’t take my bigger bangles and cuffs, and won’t take any necklaces unless they are on a flexible rope or braid (so my last two Jean Power Secret Beadalongs fit in very nicely). It will though house my endless collection of beaded beads in a place that is constantly visible, so when I have to sit through anther episode of ******Thomas the Tank Engine, I can actually be staring at them working out how to make them into a wearable piece.


It also gives me an interesting sample of my output over the last few years – my colour palette is less varied than I had expected in many ways, although it has definitely changed dramatically over time from subtle browns and golds to something much much brighter.


I still have to solve the problem of what to do with the larger pieces, but there aren’t too many of them and many do get worn, so maybe they can stay in their boxes until I come up with something……

A Handmade Christmas

Handmade items make wonderful presents – beautiful and/or unusual things, often unique.  Most Christmases I have a rush of blood to the head and decide to make presents, and most Christmases I’m still working on Christmas Eve to finish them.  So this year I decided to let other makers do the work for me – partly to support them, and mainly because they were making lush stuff.

So here’s what I bought (stupidly I didn’t take pictures, but in most cases you can follow the links to have a nose):

  • A while back I’d spotted Layla Amber’s lovely shop on Etsy.  She makes gorgeous laser cut wooden jewellery, and as December approached I bought myself a lovely Christmassy  Winter Robin necklace and robin earrings, which I wore lots.
  • They were so nice I bought some more earrings as my office Secret Santa gift, and a Winter Robin Brooch for my Aunt.
  • I’ve also been Folksy stalking Sue Trevor – she makes gorgeous machine embroidered badges, bowls, mirrors, decorations and generally lovely objects.  I used to do some machine embroidery, and would like to come back to it one day (obviously with added beads!), so I’d be watching Sue’s work with interest, and when she listed some lovely decorations I couldn’t resist.  So my sister-in-law has a lovely autumn coloured apple for her Dorset cottage, and my Mummy now has a fabulous bird watching from a small window in Tudor Cottage.  I suspect Mummy will also be inspired by Sue’s work – as a quilter she’s done some similar work in the past, and Sue’s use of hand-dyed and other interesting fabrics is right up Mummy’s street.  Again I got quite carried away, so my mother-in-law has a great badge, and as I bought a couple of ‘spares’ I have both a bigger badge , a pocket mirror and best of all a supercool peas in a pod brooch:


  • Slightly less ‘handmade’ but no less appropriate as presents were some mugs from We Are Paper Plane on Etsy – a fun graphic design team.  It’s the bigger boy’s teacher’s first year teaching so we thought she wouldn’t have too many ‘best teacher’ type presents yet, so she got a named mug.  Daddy is famous for his jokes, and definitely needs some new ones – this should help.  And our wonderful childminder is quite keen on prosecco, so this mug should give her an adequately sized vessel to put it in!
  • And finally for my beady little sister, something for her to handmake – a very un-Christmassy Boneyard Bauble from Spellbound Beads.  Jean Power was making one at bead group a while back, so I grabbed one for Susie at the Big Bead Fair.   The skeleton in particular is brilliant, and picked up a little kit for some tiny spider earrings to make for myself as well, for which they have a free pattern.

And now the really good bit – I suggested to my husband that if he or anyone else is ever stuck for presents, he could just look at what I favourite on Etsy or Folksy and he embraced the idea with gusto!  So I now have a wonderful collection of beautiful items:

  • From Kate Ramsey Felt, a completely wonderful scarf in my colours, along with a cuff and a keyring.  These are just so gorgeous, and as a bonus they smell gorgeous, presumably because of the soaps used in the felting process.  I’ve been watching Kate’s work for many years, having had a dalliance with wet and needle felting a while back (which I now feel the need to revive).
  • From another Kate at Kate’s Little Store a lovely rocket – space is a big favourite in our house and it’s nice for me to be able to join in.



So all in all, a lovely handmade Christmas – everything arrived promptly and beautifully packaged, and was a real pleasure to give or receive.  Thank you to everyone who helped!