Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Mucky pups and Christmas tree.

Not long now and the C day will be here and gone.  Today is the shortest day of the year and the sun is out and shinning, doesn't even feel like winter, there is even greeny still in the hedgerows, birds still singing and the squirrels still evading capture from De-Fi dog.  The only downside to this time of the year is the muddy dog walks.  I love to watch my dogs jumping in massive puddles and rolling in the mud, but coming home and cleaning up is a monster task.  This week I wrapped towels around the pair of them and attempted to take a picture...

Our Iz in the utility room, waiting for the rub down.  Thats Claude in the background waiting for food!
De-Fi dog and Iz.  De-Fi just cant keep still!!  Thats our Megan taking a drink.  Can you see how black Iz's tum is?
So the washing pile just grows and for once its not just the kids making the most washing.  The Christmas tree finally went up yesterday

Merry Christmas

I love my tree.  Its not real but its a huge 7ft tree, that no longer fits in the living room, but thankfully we have a back to front house and a huge hall, so every year it gets tied to the front door - we always use the back door which is at the front of the house, both front and back doors being on the side...confused yet?  My ornaments are hand painted wooden ones that my hubby brought for me for our first ever Christmas together, nearly 20 yrs ago, a collection of sparkly baubles and some 'books' that represent each day from the 1st to the 25th.  My daughter always likes to hang the number 22 as thats her birthday.  She will be 16 tomorrow!!  Thankfully my son is going to be 18 this year, as it was always an arguement about him not having his birthday book to put on the tree, as his birthday is 31st December, at least this year he wasn't bothered!!  Some of my ornaments have little puppy teeth marks from when Iz was a puppy and used to steal them and run off with them.  They are my favourite ones, and some  have bits missing where long gone cats used to belt them off the tree and chase them around the room.   This is our first Christmas with De-Fi dog and we are all looking forward to a big walk Christmas morning with everyone and all the family dogs...must remember my camera!

Thank you to all my customers that have brought my beads and jewellery over the last year and I hope to see you next year at the fairs I will be doing.  Hope everyone has a fabulous Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Laney x

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Its nearly the weekend...

...and me and the hubby with both Izabel and De-Fi dogs, are going on a narrowboat cruise.  Looking forward to that, I have started to get a few things ready, the bin bag full of dog towels for the inevitable moment when Iz decides the water is just too good too not swim in, and De-Fi finds that fabulous muddy puddle to wallow in, so of course the dogs now know that something is up so are following me around, just incase they miss out and that extra pack of dog treats that is in the bin bag will go missing without them.

De's paw is much better, he still is being careful when he goes to sit down, but the unnaturally quiet dog we had on Tuesday, is gone, thank goodness.  Who would have thought I would miss the constant jumping on Iz to play and charging about knocking everything flying and stealing anything from dirty socks to paper coming out of the printer, just waiting for that Golden Retriever mouth to find and run with.

I did manage to put in the last of the spring bulbs this morning.  Its still so mild and warm, just hoping that the weather holds for the weekend.  De did run off with a bag of bulbs, but he was bribed with a dog toy to give them back, I am now just waiting to see if he remembers where the hole was dug for them, so he can go and 'retrieve' them!!

I have been busy listing more items in my Ebay shop and a few in Etsy too.  I have a table for two weeks at Hart Barns  Craft Centre in Gloucester, which I will be dropping off my wares on the way to collecting the narrowboat tomorrow, I am taking some of my painted recycyled bottle spoon rests and jewellery, bookmarks and anything beady I have been doing over the last few months.  Looks like its going to be a nice venue with lots of crafts being displayed for the two weeks between 3-18 December.

I will go and finish organizing bits and pieces for the weekend, but here is a couple of pics, that I have of some beads and some piggy earrings that have already just have to love the piggies!!

Pig Sick

Froggy Christmas Bauble

Piggy Earrings

Friday, 4 November 2011

Slumping cider bottles and sheep!

I wrote my first on line glass bead making tutorial this morning and posted it on the fabulous forum that is Craft Pimp.  Its a simple sheep bead.  I called it Ba Ba White Sheep, but it can be any coloured sheep you want. 

Thought I would share...

Right. I have never done a tutorial before, so if it doesn't make sense, let me know. I don't have any pictures of my sheep beads, my lappy crashed this year and all that 'going to back up the pics' thing, never happened, and I haven't made any more, I will make some next time I turn on the torch and then post a pic, but until goes...

I am assuming that everyone has a little basic knowledge.

Tools needed.

Torch, marver (I only use a marble mould as my marver, its a bit chunky but does the job) torch marver - or steady hand with hand held one, mashers.

Glass. This is for a white sheep, but you can do any colour sheepy wool.

White, black, transparent clear (or other very light transparent, I like to use very pale blue) red/coral.


Pull a thick and thin stringer of white, and a thick and thin (or just thick if you can make tiny dots with the thicker stringer) stringer of black.
Pull a thin(ner) stringer of red/coral - this is for the nose.
Pull a thin stringer of transparent glass. (I will refer to this as clear in the tut ;) but you can use any light colour transparent)

Wind a nice sized bead onto a prepared mandrel. I tend to wind about 1cm across, but you can go bigger, this is the body of the sheep, so whatever width you make will be more or less the finished width of the bead.

Make sure the bead is nice and fat, don't worry too much about the ends being puckered, they will round out in the next stage.

Holding one side of the bead towards the heat, allow the bead to soften and droop. Be careful, white softens fast and drips really quickly. I like to spot heat, remove from the flame, droop a bit, repeat until I have a nice droop.

Your bead should be a small tear drop shape.

Remember to not over droop and keep the glass a good 2mm (ish) either side of the mandrel.

Using the mashers, gently squish the bead so that its still slightly rounded on the the top and flat(ish) on the sides. Make sure you don't over mash and forget to leave enough glass either side of the mandrel, or the bead will just crack during annealing.

You now have the body of the sheep. Easy huh? ;D

Now for his cheeky face.

Using the thin black stringer place two small dots about one third of the way down the body, this is the eyes. Melt flat.

Using the thin white stringer put two dots on top of the black. Melt flat.

Put two dots of clear on top of the white and melt, BUT DON'T MELT COMPLETELY FLAT. Put two tiny dots of black on top of the clear and melt flat. You might find it a bit easier to not melt the clear until you melt the iris' flat, that way they will remain slightly domed.

At this point you can add a dot for the nose using the thin stringer of red/coral. You can do this last if you wish, as it needs to be left raised.

Using the thick stringer of white, dob nice sized dots all over the sheep, you can butt them close together or leave a small gap. I prefer to butt them close together it makes the wool look more real. Remember to keep flashing the bead in and out of the flame to keep it warm and stop any dots from popping off.

Turn up the flame and give sheepy a nice warm bath in the flame. The white wool dots should be raised but secure. I slightly melt mine I think it gives a softer finish, but you can experiment, melt more or leave more raised, its up to you, its your flock ;)

Turn the flame back down, and using the thick black stringer, place two good sized dots at the bottom of the sheep body. Heat each one separately and push down onto the torch marver (or handheld one) until its flat. Repeat with the other foot. I always, with all my creatures, then spend a little bit of time making sure that they are even, so that when cooked and cleaned the little guy will stand up on his own.

Finally, add two black dots to the top of the sheep, to the side (I really do need a pic here), give each one a good heat, DON'T MELT, and using the pick, indent for the ear shape.

On the back of sheepy, add a little dot of black, and press flat, this is his tail. You can leave out the tail if you wish.

Turn up the flame, give sheepy a good bath, you might need a touch up of wool if its got flat in places, add the nose if you already haven't and pop into the kiln. Serve with mint sauce ;D

Method two.

Its the same process as method one, except for the drooping bit. Instead of drooping the bead, make a nice sized doughnut shaped white bead, add another dot of white to one side, this will be the head, add eyes and nose and ears and feet and wool dots the same, BUT, turn the bead so that the mandrel is pointing down and give sheepy four black dots for his legs from the corners (you will have to use your imagination here, circles don't really have corners ;) )

Anneal and serve ;D

Let me know if this makes sense..please...and don't forget to show your pics, I make lots of creatures if anyone wants more tutorials, I am able to share. I love to make the pendant ones, so shout up if you are interested....and I will get some pics too ;)

As well as entering into the world of writting tutorials, small steps and all that, I have been totally hooked on slumping and fusing...slumping just about any bottle I can get my hot and sweaty little hands on.  Here is two I have done this week.  The first one shows a bottle slumped over a bowl mould, it works rather well as a bowl, but I think the design needs tweaking...
This one is one of a collection of flat ones I am collecting!

As well as bottles I have been fusing and designing some cabochons.  I have ordered some bails and they will soon be available in my Ebay shop and Etsy shop, they will be perfect for those little Christmas gifts!

Hopefully this weekend I will finally get around to experimenting with bowls.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Fusing Bonanza

I have been having a fabulous week trying out my new kiln.  I have been fusing glass pendants, some are still a bit pointy but as my new grinder arrived yesterday I hope to smooth some of them out, here is a pic of the first and second goes...

First fusing

Second fusing
On the second fusing I was starting to get a little more creative!  In anticipation of having pretty pendants I have opened up an Ebay shop Laneys beads and art glass , and have even ordered some pretty bails to attach..well 'tis nearly that Christmas time and they would make fabulous presents...the girlie has already put her order in for her friends! 

Talking of Christmas, its not a day I particularly enjoy, there is always far too much to eat, nothing on the telly and I always end up feeling so bored but not really able to go and do something creative, for some reason it just doesn't feel right on Christmas Day.  I no longer go to church, and the only thing I really enjoy is walking the dogs.  On Christmas Day the air is different...don't ask me why, I have no idea, its just different.  My kids are too old now to be excited, they have guessed Santa is really me...they figured out the handwritting!...and last year we actually had to wait for them to get up, we don't even get the Christmas tears...unless its me missing out on the last purple Quality Street chocolate.  This year hubby and I have decided to go to the beach with the dogs.  We never have 'lunch' until late, so a nice walk on the beach - it is a car trip away - with D dog eating as many shells as he can possibly handle - and perhaps a cold paddle, for them, in the sea, perhaps Christmas Day will feel a bit more special this year.  Either way, I am willing to give it a go, a modern day Christmas, now that sounds like a plan!

Back to present day, I am planning to slump some bottles this weekend in my kiln, I have drank the cider, or Perry as it was pear 'cider', and now have a beautiful emerald green bottle, its going to be a good 'slumping' day :O)

Laney x

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Remember me??

I am so pants at keeping up with a blog.  But, I am trying again.  I have been updating my Etsy shop and adding some beads to Ebay.  I am going to try and have a bit of push to sell off some stock, I am wanting to start the new year with fresh beads for the numerous fairs I have already committed too.  New Year, New Start and all that.  So check out my shop if you have a moment Izzybeads on Etsy or grab a cuppa and have a look see through my listings on ebay Ebay listing - Angels.

Thanks for looking.  I will be back soon with a bit more than a blatant advertising blog!!  

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Getting into the holiday spirit!

Its September, already and one of my teenagers has gone back to school today...hooray!  I have been very busy with fairs this summer and been loving each and every one of them.  I have met fabulous people, sold lots of beads and had lots of giggles.  Fairs are hard work, both before, during and even after, when you come home, tired and still have to unload the car, but they are worth it.  I still have plenty of fairs left to do in the run up to Christmas...I know, terrible word in September!...and I have been making lots of holiday beads, I just can't help it, I am feeling all Halloweeny and Christmassy already.  I have also been updating my Etsy shop and my new (improved) plan is to keep it updated and current, I am very bad at sitting down with a cup of tea and planning to do it in a minute..that minute never comes, but its no good prompting on line sales at fairs if you don't put anything in the shop!  So just to re-cap, I do do custom orders, please just ask.  I love making my fun beads and am always open to suggestions on what to do next, please remember though I don't copy designs, but I am willing to put your idea into glass.  I love experiments!  Just a few pics of what I have been putting into the Etsy shop click here 

Laney x

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

New Camera....


Ducks playing

Wild Orchids (I think) at the River Wye

St Michaels Church, Breinton.  The building dates back to the 16th Century, but has been modernized throughout the years and has many influences from Norman to Victorian, the gate 'house' remains the oldest part of the building.

I have been having alot of practise with my new camera, all the animals had a little photo shoot, and some beads.  Hubby has been super kind and ordered me a macro lens for it, so the pictures should be even clearer when that gets here.  I am off to Windsor Castle tomorrow, meeting my lovely friend for our holiday road trip, so my new camera will be getting more practise :O) 

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Charity Auction

Some of us over on Bead Buddies have donated beadie pieces of jewellery to raise money for DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal, through a charity auction on Ebay, organized by Sandie, who has put in loads of work taking pictures and listing the items.  Take a look here and maybe have a little bid. 


This afternoons project!
 I have had some pieces of jewellery in The Qube Gallery in Oswestry for a month or so and they would like to make me fab is that?  I have been busy with bead fairs and beady related things, so I am giving myself the afternoon off torching and going to make some jewellery for the gallery and the weekly markets that I have been accepted to do, starting September...all go here in Beady Hereford!  I also have some beads for sale in The Pedlars Tray in Hereford, if you are in the area, go and check them out, they have a huge display of dolls house furniture for sale thinking of creating lots of little pieces for dolls house collectables, my daughter keeps asking me too for hers.  What do you think? I already have a sculpted chook...well I would have wouldn't I? :O)

Don't forget to check out the auctions here.

Laney x

Monday, 25 July 2011

A head for flowers.

Autumn Fruits

Its something new for me.  Tiaras.  I was asked to enter a competition, open to all mediums.  I wanted to do a finished piece, as opposed to 'just' beads, but didn't want to make a necklace or bracelet, so I took a few days to think about it.  At first I was going to do something 'arty' like stitching the flowers onto a canvas to create a picture, but decided that my sewing skills are not good enough and eventually came up with tiaras, no sewing skills necessary!  This is the one that I am going to enter into the competition, a collection of Poppies, Blueberries, Acorns, Blackberries, Poppy seed heads and sculpted leaves.  My daughter modelled the tiaras for me, but I wasn't allowed to use her face...she had no makeup on!  I did get one with a smile though.....

Autumn Fruits Tiara with a smile!!  

 I made two tiaras.  This is the second one, even though it was the first one I made! 

Blue Roses

 I really enjoyed making these, even if my fingers were sore for days, all that wire wrapping! 

As the sun has been out over the last couple of days, making it actually feel like summer, I have taken a few pictures of my beads for putting on Etsy, the sun really makes a difference.  These are Meadow Cranes Bill.

Click here for link to Izzybeads Etsy shop

The sunshine really makes glass sparkle.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Halloween in July

Well its been a while!  I have been quietly busy making new beads.  I went through the 'bum' stage and back onto the flowers, I always find that this makes the next period of either 'bums' or 'flowers' more detailed, it must be that old adage 'a change is as good as a rest'.   I have been slowly listing some more items in my Etsy shop as well as doing the bead fairs.   I have a couple of weekends off from the fairs to catch up with stock and orders before the next one in Plymouth on August 7th.  So for now, a few pictures of what I have been upto and what has been listed in my shop.

The pumpkins are not in the Etsy shop yet, but will be, I took advantage of the sunshine today and got a photo!

And one final bit of good news, is that my beads are now available to buy through a lovely shop in Hereford, The Pedlars Tray and my jewellery is now available in The Qube Gallery in Oswestry.  See.  I told you I had been busy!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Back on the bums!!

As well as making the glass flowers I have a bit of a passion for the fun and whimsy side of bead making..and life!  I am inspired by so many great whimsy glass bead artists, Maybeads, BeastieBeads, Blue Mountain Magic lampwork beads to name but three.  Of course if you are talking whimsy beads you can't forget Sharon Peters whom must be the goddess of silly sculptural beads. 

 Of course, my girls inspire my chicken beads and my cats and dogs inspire my ...well...cats and dogs beads!! 

Marmalade...and toast!

Claude and the glassy mog!
As well as chooks, cats and dogs I like to make what makes me smile and I refuse to throw away some of my favourite childrens books, the pictures in those bring characters to life.  Why don't adult books (and I am not talking rude ones!) still have those little doodles at the beginning of chapters? 
Ellie the Elephant

Billy Button

Fish ear ring pair

A day at the seaside

 The fish ear ring pair of beads were inspired  from looking at old Venetian bead designs.

And just to round this blog off nicely, some more chooks, this time for big holes to fit the popular bracelets.  You can never have enough chooks!