Thursday, 7 February 2013

Bead Circle interview!

A couple of weeks ago, Mandi from Bead Circle asked me if I would like to do a recorded interview with her and having done something similar before I happily agreed.  These things can be nerve-racking but also very rewarding and so thanks to the wonders of modern technology (Skype!) with Mandi in Texas on a bright sunny morning and me in the UK on a dark and snowy evening, we spent a fun half hour chatting about beads and dragons and future plans.  I have listened to the recording once and my initial reaction was to run out of the room screaming because I couldn't believe how fast I spoke, why I was making such weird swallowing noises or how I managed to inadvertently squeeze the words 'you know' into every sentence!  But then I chuckled to myself and I thought, well that IS me, that is apparently what I do but who cares?  It was a great opportunity for me to talk about something I love ... BEADS!  So if you want to hear me raving about my love for little shiny glass things with holes through the middle ... click HERE

You can also be in with a chance of winning a free copy of my Rivoli Daisy pattern - all you have to do is leave a comment on the Bead Circle page answering the following question “If you could only bead in one colour, what colour would you choose?”.  One winner will be picked next week.

Don't forget to subscribe to Bead Circle too as Mandi hosts lots of regular contests, tutorials and podcasts and she also offers a free beaded pen eBook.  Thank you Mandi!

Bye for now!


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year and New Patterns!

Happy New Year everyone!

Well 2012 didn't quite go according to plan but although there is a gaping Mum-shaped hole in my life, I am happy to report that things are going very well on the bead front.  I have spent the last few weeks beading and pattern writing almost non-stop and it looks like there will be lots of new designs and patterns popping up here, there and everywhere throughout 2013.  If you don't want to miss anything, be sure to either complete the 'Follow by Email' box on the top right-hand side of my blog or 'like' my Facebook page.  The first piece of news is that a new on-line only beading magazine has just been launched and although it is based in Australia, being on-line means that you can download it as soon as it is available and see what everyone else is seeing ... no annoying waiting for overseas shipping while all of your friends are busy drooling over the designs, buying the beads, making the projects and moving onto the next fun thing!  I am thrilled to be part of the design team and my project Moon Posy appears in the launch issue

The second piece of beady news is that Bead & Button magazine has also published another one of my patterns and again it's an on-line pattern, but this one is FREE!  Simply follow this link and either log in or register and you will be able to download the Gumdrops in my Garden pattern to make this dainty little bracelet using the new Gumdrop Beads created by York Beads.

So that is my news for now.  I hope you enjoy these projects and that you have a wonderfully satisfying and creative 2013!

Bye for now!


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Yorkie and the Midnight Garden!

A couple of weeks ago the Midnight Garden had a visitor.  Of course I couldn't show you on the blog at the time because of the contest, but as he proved to be quite a popular character on my Facebook page, I thought I would share his story with you today and also ask him if he would kindly make a return visit to pick the lucky winner of the giveaway!

So that was Yorkie's first experience of the Midnight Garden, but I have a feeling that some kind of magical spell was cast on him that night and that now he will be a regular visitor.  He was only too glad to come back into the garden to pick the winner of The Bead Shop Manchester giveaway.  Mr. and Mrs. Prickles oversaw  the proceedings to make sure that everything was done fairly and a small group of onlookers huddled in the corner, waiting with baited breath to learn the name of the winner ...

 And the winner is ...

Iha Vahlberg Orre of Sweden!  Congratulations Iha - your beautiful beads will soon be winging their way to you!  A big thank you to everyone who entered the contest and of course special thanks to Yorkie too!


Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A Midnight Garden themed giveaway!

I have some exciting news!  In conjunction with The Bead Shop (Manchester) I am running an easy to enter contest to win a fabulous hand picked selection of beads and it is open to international entrants!  All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning this stunning prize, is answer two simple questions and leave a comment on this entry of my blog, along with your name and a valid email address (or some way for me to contact you) to enable me to contact the lucky winner to arrange delivery of the prize.  If you have been following my blog you will know that for some time now I have been working on what I call my 'Midnight Garden' collection - using a very limited colour palette of beads I have been creating a themed body of work with a fairy tale feel to it.  I have a mental image of a secret walled garden bathed in the light of the full moon at midnight, all overgrown with twisting vines and leaves, full of night blooming flowers and mystical creatures, where magical things happen if you are fortunate enough to witness them.  One of the key pieces (shown below) is called 'Gateway to the Garden' and it represents an ancient arched entrance to the garden with an old gnarled tree curving round the door and lots of leaves and long grasses growing up the wall.  I have worked around a piece of labradorite and if you look very closely through the archway I am convinced that you can see the fairies dancing in the moonlight within the garden.

I was thrilled when The Bead Shop (Manchester) first contacted me to discuss the possibility of us doing some work together and we decided to start by doing something a little different.  I have carefully filled my shopping cart with the beads that I would love to incorporate in my Midnight Garden (shown below) but instead of them being delivered to me, we will be giving these beads away to one lucky winner to enable them to create their own imaginative piece.  The prize includes a delicious mix of Miyuki Delicas and Duracoat seed beads in midnight greys and silvers, lots of shadowy grey Swarovski crystal pearls, some super sparkly Swarovski crystals including an incredibly twinkly star pendant and a selection of whimsical charms that fit in perfectly with my theme.  It would be lovely if the winner decided to show me what they make with this wonderful selection of beads, but there is absolutely no pressure to do this!

So how do you enter this exciting giveaway?  It's very simple - leave the correct answers to both of the following questions as a comment on this blog entry along with your name and a valid email address (or some way for me to contact you):

  1. In what year was The Bead Shop (Manchester) established?
  2. How many different beading patterns do I sell directly from my website?

The closing date is the 18th of December and after that date I will put all correct answers into a hat and the lucky winner will be notified by me and then contacted by The Bead Shop (Manchester) to arrange delivery of the prize.

Make sure you tell your friends about this fun giveaway so that they can be in with a chance of winning this Midnight Garden themed prize.  Good luck everyone!


Thursday, 22 November 2012

Stepping Stones ...

I am sure you are all tired of me telling you how much my life has changed since I discovered beads - but it's true, things have evolved both personally and professionally and there are even more changes afoot.  Although change is scary, I do like to keep moving forward and this is especially true where my beadwork is concerned, but sometimes I like to pause, take a breath and glance over my shoulder at the path behind me and an email I received this week reminded me to do just that.  It was actually an email from Interweave with news of a big sale they are having, but as I looked at my old patterns that they still sell, I saw that OK, I am working in different coloured beads nowadays, I am incorporating different materials, I am experimenting with different stitches and my photography has certainly improved - but I noticed that my style of beadwork hasn't really changed at all.  As you know, I am completely immersed in the Midnight Garden at the moment and I understand that some of you are disappointed that I simply have not had time to write the patterns for some of the garden's 'inhabitants', but I thought perhaps now might be a good time to remind you that there are already lots of my patterns available to purchase from various sources and many of these will provide the stepping stones to the kind of work I am currently creating, such as these Olive Earrings from Interweave.

So first of all, let me tell you about the Interweave sale - if you visit this page of my website and click on any of the project titles, it will take you to the Interweave store and if you purchase any of the patterns via that page, after you 'Add to cart' you will see a box with the words 'Coupon Code' - be sure to enter HOLIDAYTHANKS into that box and a further 20% will be deducted - but please note that this sale ends on Monday November the 26th.

Many of my patterns that were published in Bead magazine are still available to purchase too, so if you want to make your very own Maid Marian's Quiver for example (as shown above) just follow this link and it will take you to a selection of my patterns in their on-line store.

The patterns I have had published with Bead & Button magazine are also still available, so if you would like to make yourself a Double Dragon, follow this link to view my patterns that are available to purchase and download from them. 

And finally, don't forget that I also sell a selection of patterns from this page of my website so if you want to make your own Core Beaded Beads, Popper Flowers, Rivoli Daisies etc. - just follow the links and your new beading pattern/s will be with you within minutes.  There are new patterns in the pipeline but this is generally a slow process (especially where books and magazines are involved) and so I am hoping that you will find something in the links above that will interest you until I am able to share new work.

Yours evolvingly;

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Coming out of hibernation ...

Well, here I am, slowly nosing my way out of hibernation, stretching, sniffing the air and gradually adjusting to Life After Mum.  I am picking up my needle and thread again, accepting all sorts of beady offers and blowing the cobwebs off the Midnight Garden - I am back in business!  Mr. and Mrs. Prickles have also come out of a long sleep in order to lend their support to York Beads who had to close for a whole week following hurricane Sandy due to a complete loss of power.  Mr. and Mrs. P. owe their very existence to York, as without them, there would have been no beautiful dagger beads to adorn them and then they would have looked like very different creatures indeed - have you ever heard of the naked mole rat?

When I was a 'hobby beader', if I had read the term 'wholesale' I would have immediately switched off, thinking that I would not be eligible to buy from them - but I have learnt that actually, York sell 'wholesale to the public' which means you do not need to be a business or have to do anything complicated or scary.  True they do have a minimum purchase amount, but that is only $100 (currently around £63/79Eur/97AUD) and as we all know, it is not hard to spend that kind of money and more on those must have beads, and there is nothing to stop you getting together with a group of friends to organise a bulk order.  So if you want to get your beady paws on some of the most innovative Czech beads around (such as the dagger beads, spike beads or the new gumdrop beads) go to the York Beads website, click on 'Sign In Here' and 'Apply For An Account' and if you have any difficulties, feel free to email them via the 'Contact us' page.  Oh and right now they have a very attractive sale on of 10% off all items with free flat rate domestic shipping and an international shipping rate of only $16.95.

So that's all from me and Mr. and Mrs. P. for now, but we will be back soon with news of new designs, tutorials and published projects, so if you don't want to miss anything, make sure you either click on the 'Follow by Email' button located on the top right of my blog or click 'like' on my Facebook page.

Bye for now!


Saturday, 29 September 2012

Goodbye Mum!

Sadly, Mum left us on Monday the 24th of September, but thanks to the fantastic support of the hospice, district nurses and carers, she was able to spend her final days peacefully at home, just as she had wished.  I used to call Mum my 'Rose Fairy' because with her beautiful blonde hair, soft pink skin and sparkly blue eyes she reminded me so much of Cicely Mary Barker's 'Rose Fairy' and she was happiest spending time pottering about in her garden tending to her collection of gorgeous roses.  I will miss Mum enormously but I am comforted by the belief that she will be watching me and cheering me on as I continue on my beady travels through life. Mum was my number one fan when it came to my beadwork and although I used to cringe with embarrassment when she would whip a magazine out of her handbag to show anyone who would stop and look at my latest published design, or thrust her wrist at a passing stranger to show them her bracelet saying 'Look, my daughter made that!' - I was of course very glad to be able to give her something to be proud of.  In the early days, I was lucky enough to share a table at several local craft fairs with Mum, she with her wonderful knitted creations alongside me and my beadwork and later, as things grew and I attended bigger fairs, she would help me out by setting up my display, talking to customers and carefully packaging sold items and of course helping to calm my nerves and bolster my confidence.

Mum was always coming up with ideas for new beadwork designs for me too and she was a constant source of inspiration - had it not been for Mum and her battles with cancer, I would never have designed my Awareness Ribbon Pins or the Pilgrims Cross both of which helped to raise a substantial amount of money for various charities.

There is so much more I could say about My Mum, but I think that you get the picture and although I have many photographs of her, I think that the one below is my favourite because it shows her 'under my wing' and captures the obvious love that flowed between us.

Mum and I used to speak about what might happen after this life and we thought that perhaps we may become flower fairies with important jobs to do.  Mum decided that she was going to wear a gown of softest velvety purple petunia with a fluffy bumblebee hat and she was going to dance through the sky painting sunsets and THAT is the image I am going to keep in my head forever.

Goodbye Mum.