Friday, 31 December 2010

P.S. to the previous blog: since my blog of the mid-December Rod has had a couple of really excellent reviews of "The Demi-Monde: Winter", notably, in "SciFiNow" and on ! So, I suppose, I should delete my post and just be happy! :)

Happy New Year and Keep Lampworking!

After a long sulking pause I'm back in the saddle! Lots of things have happened since my last blog, some of them excellent, some of them not so good, but the mood today, on the last day of 2010, is to go into the new year with a cheerful smile.

I always make the "Berry! Christmas" beads for Christmas. Today, however, I've decided to show one of my other "winter festive" beads. It was made on a pink dichroic base, which you can just about see on the close-up photo. There are some large melted-in transparent green dots encased into crystal clear. The rest is just the surface decoration. The branches were made with my favourite encased stringer, with Dark Silver Plum instead of black - it gives these lovely charcoal-silvery lines which catch the sun. There are blobs of transparent grass green, paddled, then pulled in the shape of a holly leaf and finally cut with the razor tool to give this "veiny" effect. When you look close, of course, especially in the sun, this cutting has given the leaves an almost marbled feel - brilliant! And, to finish off, a couple of red dots for berries: light red opaque as a base, covered with a dot of striking red - or even orange if you want a brighter colour.

To finish off, I part-etched the bead: the clear background has this soft glow perfectly offset by the frosty shine of the holly branches, leaves and berries.

May I wish you all a peaceful and prosperous New 2011 Year, with lots of happy and exciting things! Happy New Year! xx

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

No, not very happy at all.

After lots of travelling lately today I was poorly and had to stay in bed until after lunch - this never happens. Then I got up only to discover that I didn't win anything in the Beads & Beyond competition this year - what's new. The only thing I can say is that my understanding of "original" differs a lot from the majority of the B&B readers and judges. I thought Becky Fairclough's Peacock was outstanding. But never mind.

The most horrendous thing though was the review of Rod's book "The Demi-Monde" in the SFX which came out today. It was just a pack of lies and made up crap written in the most malicious way. I couldn't believe what I was reading. As if the reviewer was envious that it wasn't himself who had come up with this brilliant idea for this brilliant love story - you see, they call it "steam punk", but in the end it is a beautiful novel about real love and real heroes. With lots of good humour and wit - so enjoyable!

It was very much like when they reviewed my album "Jazz Noir" in "Jazzwize"; I still remember the ending: "...And "The Boy From Ipanema"? - ouch!" - I am not pulling your leg, these are the very words that prat used!

This review thing made me so cross, I had to write it all down in my blog to calm down a bit. The book, according to this person, is so bad that he gave it three stars and said that it would keep you hooked. I just hope that all those people in Poland, Russia, Germany, Italy, the rest of Eastern Europe, who have bought the rights to the book and are now busily translating it, and, of course, guys in the US have seen something in this book that Mr Holt of SFX has failed to see - or, maybe, he got a bit jealous?

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

What Is Your Name?

I've got this idea about these little creatures. They are beads, of course, (what else?), I've made several today. What to call them? The funny (or weird) thing is, it follows you with its eyes! The colours didn't come out very well because I've used a really awful lighting from a natural light bulb in the kitchen (hence the horrible bright blue background - sorry, not my choice of decor!), but you can see the eyes! I'm going to part-etch it as I always do with these: the sparkling dots and the blob of the face are going to be left shiny (together with the hearts, there are two of them - one on each side), the rest will be my fav matte. I don't think these are for sale. They are not terribly commercial, but then they were not intended to be. Just something that had to be got out. I'm sure you know what I mean! :)

Friday, 26 November 2010

Working Again! Yippee!!!

Just as I was about to do a blog on how I bought myself a new table which was going to be my bench in Derby - mind you, that was probably not going to be terribly exciting! - which is picture 1, I actually had a very busy day yesterday.

The morning was so bright and sunny, the garden and the village looked so gorgeous in the sparkling winter sun, that I thought it would be a good idea to unpack all my bead making stuff. OK, it was cold. The conservatory I am in doesn't have any heating. Well, there is underfloor heating, but as we are renting this house, I am not sure how to programme it, so I just put on many-many layers of warm clothes. My Russian valenkis (felt boots) are handy too. So I managed to take everything out of boxes, Rod fixed the station on the wooden surface, and everything is working! (picture 2).

I've managed to make some beads today, and sadly the cold isn't the main problem. It's ventilation, as always! So now I'm thinking how I am going to fix my extractor fan. You see, I thought as it was a conservatory, the air would be floating in and out through the open windows. Nope, it doesn't. If I keep the door open it's more or less OK, but not perfect. I can still smell the gases, so tomorrow I'll try out some ideas.

Another quite upsetting thing is that I am soooooo out of practice :( . I tried to make my "Sparkling" beads, and putting those dots in a very precise pattern proved to be quite a challenge. You can see what I mean: dots are all over the place! It didn't help either that I picked out the wrong Double Helix - this is Clio, but it should have been, I think, Aurae. Never mind. As Ellen in "Gone With the Wind" used to say, tomorrow is another day! :)

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Website Update and Other News

The work on the updating of my website is going on. I haven't expected Nigel (, who we've been working with on the design and development of my website as well as the Demi-Monde website, to come up with all these ideas - last night!

This is a little preview of what my new opening page is going to look like. As Nigel very rightly commented, the bit in the middle of the stylised N is very important as it is the thing which sets this particular N from others. So he was reluctant to put the words "Nelli Rees Lampwork" across it, and now I know why. These four examples are very pretty, but again, as Nigel commented, although the big stylised N works, the lettering doesn't as it is too small and can't really be seen very well. So Nigel also prepared a couple of other options, and they are gorgeous. The problem is, one of them has lettering on the black background, and the other - on the cream one. So now I have this dilemma: black or white? Difficult.

I have finished work on the article for the Making Jewellery mag which should be in the April issue. They obviously want it to coincide with the release of my book in the States which is scheduled for the 5th of April 2011. It is actually good, because if I book a stall at the Flame Off on the 8th-9th of April 2011 it will give me something to display!

I've also finished my article for the GBUK Autumn-Winter Newsletter. It is called "Book or not 2 Book", but I am not sure if they decide to call it something different. Sabine Little, who sadly is not going to remain the Newsletter Editor, very kindly accepted it for the issue that she is going to put together before she leaves this post :( . I mean, :) for being accepted! I tried to make it funny, I hope it'll come through.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Visit to Yorkshire

Friday was the loveliest day!

We had to go and see Nigel, who is a designer and who has designed both Rod's and my websites. He lives in Driffield, so we thought as we were going to drive all the way up North, we would take this opportunity and visit the Cooper Gallery in Barnsley where some of my jewellery is sold. This was a very good decision. Barnsley is only literally 5 min away from the M1, so one second you are on the motorway, and the next - you are in the town centre! Barnsley is a lovely place. The day, when we were leaving Derby, was foggy, cold and miserable. But as soon as we drove into Barnsley, the sun was shining, the air was crisp, and I even got too hot in my usual winter coat! And the Yorkshire accent! I think I miss it all.

We had a cup of coffee and a bacon roll in a pub and then found our way to the Gallery which was right in the centre. It is a great place, with lots of ceramics, silver, knitted things, framed photos - anything you like! The jewellery set which is going to be the top prize in the Friends' of the Cooper Gallery's Christmas event ( is displayed right at the entrance together with a signed copy of my book. In fact, all jewellery by all artists is displayed really nicely, well done guys and girls in the Gallery! We bought a couple of lovely things for our daughters' Christmas stockings. After that we went around the town centre and did some more shopping (there are some very good shops there, including fashions for men which is always difficult to find). I even managed to buy this lovely purple wool for a sweater (I don't know when I'm going to have time to knit it!) plus some wool for decoration around the neck and on the ends of the sleeves, which is also purple but it has big fluffy blobs here and there, I've never seen anything like this before, so it will be a challenge to knit something out of it. In other words, if you've never been to Barnsley it is well worth a visit, and it's easy to get to!

Then we drove on to Malton near York to get our "Yorkshire Pot" from Derek Fox the butchers. It has been several years now that we have Yorkshire Pot for Christmas, even though now we don't live in Scarborough, and it takes us some time to go and get it. Mr Fox was his usual grumpy self, noting that I should have picked the Pot up the day before etc, etc. (I wonder who is the customer here!). But I was determined to be pleasant and happy, so I just missed what he was saying!

Then to Driffield. Nigel had moved into a new house, and it was great to see them all there. We had a few things to discuss. As I am becoming better known in the lampworking and jewellery making community, my website needs to be updated. It has been dormant for some time now, as I find it easier to sell beads from ebay. One of the reasons is that it takes me time to put stuff on the website, especially the formatting of the photos. So this needed to be addressed. Also I had to think long and hard about a new image and my new logo. I love my little heart in the logo, but the decision was taken that it would be better to have just one image, which needs to be strong and easily recognisable. Of course, I've always had my special N which I designed out of two Nordic runes: "laguz" and "laguz" reversed. This was decided to become the main image from now on. I will also be incorporating it into my jewellery, as I have always planned. I have to investigate how much it would cost to make it into clasps for bracelets and necklaces. The cost of the silver Art Clay is ferocious, so possibly I could make it out of copper clay. There are other possibilities as well, but I need time to look into every one of them. I think it will be really cute to have my N on a clasp or even as a simple charm. So... lovely day, but lots to do!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Winter is Here! (And It's Only November - What to Expect Next?!)

Winter has officially arrived in Derbyshire! I took these pictures yesterday morning, and it was even worse today! -3.

But I found out that my book was No. 24 in the 100 best-selling books on Amazon yesterday (in Books > Home and Garden > Crafts > Jewellery and Beadwork) and No. 51 today! This was really extremely good news indeed! To make the top 100 is unbelievable! Especially that I am competing with such popular things like metal clay and beading. So I was very chuffed!

I also treated myself to buying one of the beads by Michou Pascale Anderson. She lives in Germany and makes colourful designs. There isn't a lot of depth, but the colour combinations are lovely. When I received the bead in the post together with a little leaflet about the designer I learnt that she is half-French and half-Jamaican, which could explain the designs she favours. We all must have some sort of a pre-memory in our brain - is it all pre-programmed? When Diana East saw me wearing those beads I made on the last bead-making day in Norfolk, she thought they looked "very Russian"!
Going back to my topic on photography, I was a little disappointed to see that the bead I fell in love with from a picture wasn't quite as bright in real life after all... Ahh, there is still a LOT to explore with glass colours!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Realistic or Pretty?

Sunday morning... Usually there is lots to do, and I never get to the computer until about 11 o'clock, but yesterday it was my daughter's eighteenth birthday party, and Rod and I went away; now we are back, but people aren't up yet, so what a perfect chance to do one's blog!

I've always wanted to write about photography. Everybody knows how important it is, especially to show your beads to people who want to buy them. The beads should look good but realistic. A lot of bead artists use very strong lighting for their shots, or take photos with a flash. What I found is that all this changes the colours a lot - or is it just my camera? So I usually opt for either very soft and "peaceful" (as I call them) shots of beads on my window sill, or in the sunlight - for a much stronger sparkly effect.

For example, when I was preparing this shot for my book, which in the end didn't make it, I laid out this "Mermaids' Eyes" bracelet on the window sill and just had to wait for the right light. It happened in the end, but this was one of the most difficult shots I'd ever taken. The reduced Double Helix Triton dots have a lot of colour in them, and it changes depending on the angle at which you look at them. It was important to capture this incredible change.

This other photo shows more amazing colours you can get from Double Helix. It was taken in the open, but not in the sun, as I was worried about "overcooking" the colours - you can get a whole rainbow effect from these, but I always leave this to the customer: when they open the parcel and discover beads which look even better in real life than on the photo, I should imagine they are going to be very pleased!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Etching, Etching

As I have been unable to make beads, I have been looking at the ones I made long ago. The truth is, I love etching. The effect of this unusual matte finish on glass fascinates me. Of course, you can "get rid" of the shine and sparkle if you put some baking soda on your creation at the end, but while I'm making a bead I never actually know exactly what I'd like it to be. So there is always a choice when you get them out of the kiln: to etch or not to etch.

Full etching is easy. But, of course, now I like the idea of combining the matte and the shine, and this is where it becomes extremely time consuming. I remember, several years ago, when I was only starting, Clare Scott wrote about a set on her website how it took her ages to create this effect covering the dots with nail varnish and etching the background. Now not only I cover things, then, when they dry, I go round with a magnifying glass (no, not really, only kidding!), inspecting all the areas I want etched, cleaning the bits which were accidentally covered with varnish, or adding more nail varnish on the tiny spots and lines if I want them left shiny. Ridiculous, I say to myself. But what can I do - I'm addicted to it!

This bead is only just over an inch long (28mm), with Effetre Cobalt Blue transparent base and various stringers and twisties made with Double Helix Triton (I believe, as I made it literally ages ago!). Not a difficult bead to make, just takes time to prepare :) The "ribbon" effect in the middle is a simple twistie of white and Periwinkle Blue. I liked the "ribbon" being uneven, it adds a certain character to this pattern, it also echoes the asymmetrical effect the mirrored Triton twisties turned into. Here is a close-up. I have to say I am very pleased with the result.

I've got this very dotty bead which I now decided to etch too, so I'll show what happened later!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Becky's Blog, 111 stars and Taking Photos in the Rain :)

Becky Fairclough of Chameleon Designs, being an amazing glass artist and making amazingly beautiful beads and things, also is a truly beautiful person. Whenever I see her at fairs and meetings, she always smiles, always happy, always has a chat with her numerous friends and acquaintances. I was really happy when she told me that she ordered my book; now she received it and wrote a whole blog about it! :) You can read it on . I am feeling so fluffy inside! :) :) :)

Yesterday I realized that now I have 111 feedback stars on ebay! I thought it was a pretty cool number. It shows that you are not a novice, and you have sold a considerable amount of stuff, and that customers care to leave a nice feedback about what they bought from you. I always thought that once I have over a hundred of these stars I will be very pleased indeed (you see, some customers don't leave anything, and it isn't because they are dissatisfied, but they might forget or be busy). But now, of course, I am dreaming of, say, 500 stars! I don't know if I'll ever be able to produce as much as feedbacks for a 1000 items! But you never know...

Also yesterday I was very clever and I took photos of the beads I was going to put on ebay in advance. I usually list items on Friday, and usually Friday is a very hectic day: choosing and additionally inspecting beads (lots of noise, I tell you!), cleaning (for a 10th time) and polishing (for a 20th time) the beads which would be ready to be photographed, taking photos, choosing photos, tagging and naming them, ooooh! busy. Then the actual writing of the descriptions, measuring etc. When I woke up I saw a lovely sunrise, which was surprising as all night it was raining. Remembering where we live now (it rained a LOT LESS in Norfolk) I used the sunshine for these great photos of my beads. Here's one. I should have called the beads something like "Lunaglow", but this great thought only came to me this morning, so they'll just have to be simply "Lentils"!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

What an Exciting Day! Mood: Busy

Yesterday was an amazing day!

First of all, the day before I received a message from this lovely guy, Kevin Clark, who got my book, which apparently arrived at his place last Saturday (wow! - 10 out of 10 to the GMC for organising themselves on time!), and he wrote a lovely note to me about it! But yesterday he allowed me to put it on my blog, so here it is:

"I received your book through Amazon on Saturday, love it. It's really well laid out and for a newbie in the lampworking field (well 4 months) makes a lot of sense. Love the fact that you can make a bead then for the jewellery makers carry on and make your piece."

Wheeee!!!!! I was thrilled!

Then all of a sudden the Making Jewellery team came back and said that they would publish this "10 Questions" thing about me in their Issue 25. Hooray, at last! One would think that as GMC Publications own the Making Jewellery mag, there would be a lot more connection between the editorial teams - well, not so! I've been nagging for ages about an article, so yes! yes! yes!!! OK, issue 25 is a long way away, it's the April issue, if I can count correctly, and this 10 Questions feature is a bit boring - the questions are all the same for everybody, they don't really fit very well with a lampworker, but never mind, this is the format - what can you do? I'm just so glad that they'll do it! So a sneaky preview of one of the photos I'm gonna use in there:
These are my "Gaillardia" beads, I make them from time to time, I just love the goldstone middles, and this green background is also one of my favourite greens. I start with white (any white really) then encase it into my favourite transparent emerald green which, I think, is now sold as "mid dark green" - I just love this shade! - so it comes out this lovely bright green with the added bonus of the following: if you decorate the surface, then you can see the shadows on the white, so it looks extra mysterious!
Next I received the actual 10 questions so I can now buckle down, which I have done actually. I sat at my computer all day, dilidently choosing the photos - only max 8. It's a real pity that I can't do any lampworking at the mo, as I've got soooo many ideas, so I'll have to use the old pix of the stuff I made in the summer. Hey! never mind! :) :) :)
Then I also approached the GBUK Newsletter team, and Sabine Little came back and said "yes" to my plan of writing a piece on how I did it with the book etc, so this was just really great news too! You never know how people might treat your contacting them: they might think that you are too pushy. But the book is out there, and I need to promote it somehow - you know what I mean!
It was raining yesterday, but I didn't notice - I was soooooo busy! Lovely-jubbly! xxx

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Holiday!!! in Hurghada :)

Ahhh, we went on holiday!!!!!!!
This is the Alps!

Not that I've never been to Switzerland, but, let's say, it was some time ago, so even seeing it like this, from the window of an airplane, was very exciting.

We went to Egypt, to this interesting place called Hurghada. One of the activities was to go snorkelling to a beautiful island the name of which escapes me, but you can see our Flotilla (well, just about!), sorry the photos have to be small!

Here you can just see lots of people snorkelling. I love the colour of the sea! So much like my beloved Effetre Light Turquoise Transparent!

Rod said that this way of snorkelling wasn't very fun. There were too many people coming from too many boats, so all the wildlife, whatever had survived the noise from the boats' engines, had hidden away.

I tried some snorkelling too. Now you have to remember, that I am not a natural swimmer, but if Rod says I can do it, I will at least try! This was the scariest of my experiences in life! Even when I was going to have a baby, this wasn't so scary. I just couldn't master this "breath through the mouth" thing at all. I think, you either can do it, or you can't. Luckily for me, Rod was nearby. We had been promised dolphins, but it wasn't a dolphin who saved my life, it was my husband! I don't have a pic of me snorkelling, the children got too worried about me to take pix!
This is a happier situation - Nelli Rees is relaxing in a lovely Asian restaurant (at the resort) with a glass of wine! This was on Saturday. It was very nice indeed!

I love the sea! When we lived in Scarborough, we would often go for a walk on the seafront. People used to say, we take it for granted, but I never did. If you are born in Moscow, or, I should imagine, in any other enormously big city, with heat, and dust, and millions of cars, you never take the sea, or hills, or forests, or fields for granted. You just know how special they are.

This sea, Red, was very warm.

Up to about the day when we had to go back to England. All of a sudden a fresh wind started blowing from the sea, and everything changed. This photo was taken on our last day there, and you can see there aren't a lot of people swimming. (Lots of them were swimming in the pool, but I am not a great fan of pools - sorry!). :)

And this is the last picture of my Egyptian adventure - check out those skies!
This is "Sunrise Mamlouk Palace", booked through Thomas Cook.
The best part of it was the rooms. They were huge and, most importantly, ABSOLUTELY sound proof! I've never been at a resort with that level of sound-proofing.
We got what we wanted: to be away, in the sun, near a warm sea, to get tanned. There were some minor things, but overall it was great! This was our first holiday in five years.

Friday, 15 October 2010


Whether one likes it or not, packaging is very important. I remember getting a parcel from my good friend Michelle of (Hand Made By Me) - she makes lovely pieces from polymer clay beads - which was a bright pink shiny envelope, and getting so excited and happy just from the look of it! I, of course, like to re-cycle, so I often re-use the envelopes I get from other people: my jewellery bits and pieces, books etc. But I do pay a lot of attention to what and how I put inside. Well, of course, one doesn't want to go mental and spend lots of money on the stuff that will end up in a bin anyway, but your product has to be presentable.

I have been using these dark green boxy-things, made out of tough paper, you can open and close them on both sides. They were quite good, but not ideal: apparently, they wouldn't go through a letter-box, which is an important consideration for a lot of customers: when they are not at home, who is going to take the parcel from the postman? I'd wrap up my beads into white tissue paper, then into bubble-wrap, put them inside the green thing, wrap around some fuschia ribbon with a little dangly bit at the front - done!

But I have now run out of these. I went to Noblepac website, and the buggers have put their prices up! They obviously don't want to deal with little customers like me: if your order is less than £50.00, there is a £6.50 handling charge on top of everything else. OK, they can do without me then. So I found an alternative:, they do these little boxes which take about .1sec to put together and which look very smart!

So this is how my beads look now when they arrive: all wrapped up in white tissue paper, bubble wrap, inside a smart little box with my little Bead Mon Amour sticker on, with fuschia ribbon. I am very pleased, especially that these boxes are cheaper than the Noble ones were. AND they go through a letter-box!

This just reminds me that I need to spend some time thinking about my new logo for my new name: it's Nelli Rees Glass Art.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Making New Things Out Of Old Things

I had to fill out my "interests" section on Facebook, and this was one of my favourite things to do. Here is an example. Never throw anything out! I don't, that's why moving house is such a difficult job, I have so many things! Anyway, my daughter likes this bracelet very much, and I don't blame her: it is shiny and sparkly. Unfortunately, it was made in China, out of some very crappy material - I guess, some plastic, which later on was covered in a layer of shiny paint, so it looks like it is real silver (typical). It broke the other day, and there were tears. But don't you worry, mum is here! With her jewellery-making tools! AND her brain with bright ideas. I took a piece of sterling silver wire, attached it to one end of the links of the bracelet, put a big 8mm Swarovski on it, then connected the end to the other link. Voila! The only thing was my daughter didn't want any of my beads put into the bracelet :( Never mind, I'm used to it! :)

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Lampwork Open Day in Leicester

What a lovely date, so I had to write a blog today!

But I won't bore you with my thoughts about 10.10.10 - too much has happened since my last blog, and I won't even be able to write it all out tonight. But this is a great excuse to do it tomorrow!

I suppose, the main event has to be the open studio of Diana East in Leicester. We went there on Friday. Of course, as Diana mentioned a marquee on Facebook, I had put on several layers of warm clothes - these murky October days in England, especially if you have to be outside. But it was quite warm - surprisingly - so we considered ourselves to be lucky. I met Astrid Riedel, a south african lampwork artist. She was petite, almost elfine-like, and very very pretty. She demonstrated how to make a couple of beads, which was a big success. I also met other bead and jewellery makers, and a lot of people bought my book, a big Thank you to them! I was trying to take pictures, but as it was my first experience in being a "photographer" of the event, I got shy - as usual - and only managed to take three pix! They are on my Facebook as a separate album. After that we went to a lovely restaurant "Little Tokyo" - if you ever happen to be in Leicester, you have to check it out, it's worth it - and had a great meal. So the whole day went really very well!

Friday, 1 October 2010

After the Rain

So what's new? Yesterday was the day of Faith, Hope and Love (this is the Russian variant of the name translated into English). I love that day: 30th of September in Moscow would usually be quiet, no wind, with golden leaves and that special autumn sunshine - soft and kind of meaningless...
Today it was raining ALL day. I even posted a pic on Facebook - nobody commented! I think everybody was a little annoyed with me, stating the obvious. So I have posted these pix here! The thing is, in Norfolk it isn't actually as wet as in Derbyshire. But after all that rain this beautiful rainbow came. It was huge, double or even triple, with many layers which, unfortunately, can't be seen on the photo. It was here only for about half an hour, but it changed everything: the light of the sky, the air, my mood. I forgave and forgot the rain. It was lovely.

I must sort out my torch. Otherwise I am having too much spare time, doing absolutely nothing. Who cares about unpacking anyway? It's boring, it was very boring packing, I only did it because I had to. Tomorrow. Definitely. I'll do it.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Autumn Bargain

I can't make beads - so what! No problemo, I have been de-stashing the beads I made ages ago. I've never sold beads which were made at the beginning of my carreer. Actually, not at the very beginning, they are more of a "thought-in-process" assortment, as there are lots of florals, including on a dichroic base which is quite complicated (for me, anyway) to handle. I haven't been selling them before because, first of all, they are all my friends. It might sound really weird, but that's how I used to treat them, I just couldn't bring myself to looking at them as a "product" which would be sold. I have been somehow "attached" to them. That's also why I don't sell a lot, I seem to keep them for myself! But the time has come, I think, when they should go to new homes. So they are all going to be on ebay as from today for 10 days. This will also help me to keep my "beadboxes" under control - otherwise they have been breeding here!

My goodness, it is hard work to string 100 beads! That's what I've been doing all morning, I can't believe it! But now they are all ready, sitting prettily on a very strange piece of ribbon - another new thing, I usually use plain white ribbon: before we moved, I went to the little craft shop in Downham to buy my usual string, and they informed me that they wouldn't be getting anymore of this type, it had been discontinued :(. Ah, just as well... New place, new house, new string!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Demi-Monde Adventures

It was a travel day today! I like travelling, especially looking out of the window of the car, that is possibly why I still don't drive! Can you imagine - driving and at the same time trying to look around - probably not a good idea. Anyway, we went to North Cave which is in Yorkshire, almost on the M62 towards Hull. We met Nigel Robinson, Rod's colleague regarding "The Demi-Monde"'s website, in this lovely hotel/restaurant which we just bumped into! It was called "Rudstone Walk" (in fact, technically speaking it is in South Cave: South Cave, Brough HU15 2AH tel: 01430 422230) and it was truly pretty, the staff were so friendly, and the meal (and the wine!) was gorgeous! If you are ever around in that area this place is strongly recommended!

Then we went to the studios where some time ago I had copies of my disc made, but this time we talked to the guys there regarding making a teaser for "The Demi-Monde" to be put on Amazon together with the book description. It was really exciting! I will be "the voice of ABBA" and I will have to be filmed too. Though it is only going to be 30 seconds at the most, there is going to be a lot of work done, Rod is alrealy starting on the script, and I have to dig out my hats! (the feel is going to be Victorian-esque).

Also Nigel brought a poster - it looks amazing! Unfornately, as it always happens with us, we accidentally left it in the restaurant, so I can't show you a pic. BUT instead here is a pic of the leaflet for "The Demi-Monde" which is also the cover of the book.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Last week, thanks to Dominique, I received the first big and important parcel to the new house - my book. This was the first time I saw the new cover and the actual book. Mixed feelings... It is great to see something that you've sweated for in your hands, having taken on a real shape and form. The trouble is, when I "flick through" it I remember all those days of hard work - not even a year ago! But it looks very pretty, and I do hope there is a lot of good advice in it for people like myself.
One critisism: if it were entirely me, I would have had more pictures of the final finished jewellery pieces - after all, they are the end product, and those pictures were the most difficult part of it all. For example, the shot of the "Mermaids' Eyes" Bracelet took me nearly two months to get right: the shape of it, and the lighting seemed for ever not quite right, but in the end it was cropped - had I known, I would have produced something similar without so much sweat.
Anyway, the work is done, and the book (hopefully) will be on the shelves as from 7th November (Great October Revolution day in Russia!), so... happy shopping and lampworking and jewellery making!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

No Beads, BUT New Nails and Exercising!

Now while I can't make beads, there are other things that I've been doing. First of all, I realised how unfit I was (big unhappy face!). So I found my old exercise thingy, I am not even sure what it is called, but I call it my "Ladybird" (it is in the pix) and I recommend this to anyone who is thinking about improving one's stomach and other muscles, this little thing is absolutely terrific! The greatest thing about it is that you don't have to spend hours exercising: all you do - but you need to do it every day - you do 60-65 moves on it (it sounds really stupid!), which would normally amount to about five (FIVE!) minutes of your time per day! Of course, when I was a singer, I used to do it easily and quickly, I even managed to increase the number a bit within the same 5 minutes. Now I started with 45 moves, and this has been a real pain. But I will persevere.

The other thing is I have invented a new fashion for nails. Seriously. Look at the picture. What you do is you put your first layer of nail varnish on (in my case it is my favourite silver), dry it, then distress it a bit around the edges or even in the middle - whatever you like really - then cover it with a layer of a different colour (in my case, again, it is some funny dark red, I don't even know where or why I bought it in the first place), and voila!: your nails look like they have been covered in shards! That's what I call "Bead Maker's Manicure"! I hope you'll like it! I am wearing mine to the GBUK AGM this Saturday! See you there! xx

Monday, 20 September 2010

How long has it been since I last came to my blog? The move is over, but the boxes are still there to unpack! Thank goodness, we have internet now, it's taken about two weeks. I've got some pix for you to see: the entrance to the house we now live in (pansies - I just adore them!), the fuscias I brought with me from Norfolk (these are my very favourite, and you can see behind them the lovely little statue/candle holder called "The Circle of Friends" which we bought when we lived in Yorkshire) and a very content Fat Cat who now lives near the big blue flower pots at the back entrance.

The only small problem is that I am currently unable to make beads. :(

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

And these are the last beads I made in Norfolk before I packed up all the bead making equipment:

I am pleased they look so bright and happy - we had a very busy time living here, I started my new carrier as a bead artist in the shed in the garden, and these beads are a lovely conclusion to this part of my life.
I won't be posting any blogs for the next couple of weeks, but I'll be back.
So... Goodbye, Downham! Hello, something else!


Yes, yes, yes! Finally we are moving! We've been packing and everything, you can see the pix!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Tiny Spacers

Who knows a nice and easy way of making these tiny spacers? The ones on the pic are about 4mm thick and 7mm in diameter. They seem to be so popular all of a sudden, but they are such a pain to make! I find it tricky to balance a tiny amount of glass on my mandrel, keeping the wound glass in the way that it doesn't collapse on itself. Of course, as always, the place in the flame is important, i.e., temperature control, but also I now use industrially produced stringer instead of a whole thick rod, this seems to have helped. But then there is also the cleaning of the holes, which is fun: they are so small, and holding them simultaneously with drilling is a nightmare. BUT they do look cute in a finished jewellery piece, so... back to work!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Murrini Making Part II

I had a white rod for the middle, encased it into clear, cut little "grooves", filled them with some coral, encased it all into clear again, then encased it with acid yellow. Heat, heat, attach the punty, more heat, pull. Lots of fun and excitement! You can see what came out on the pic. These are tiny. So conclusion No 1: don't do "subtle".

Then, of course, I needed to put them into my bead. As I mentioned before, everything needs practice. I started paddling them, and they just collapsed! I had to decorate these bright yellow blobs with a strange middle, so I put some tiny black dots on each of them: now they looked like little footprints of a little furry animal. Conclusion No 2: paddle only very gently, if at all.

Seeing my lovely tiny murrini being reduced to dots looking like animal paws, I decided not to paddle them at all. This was risky, but I had to think fast: remember all this was happening while I was making a bead. Just melting these murrini very slowly, watching them making sure that they don't collapse on themselves did the trick: you can see them on the bead, even the teeny-tiny coral lines are noticeable - JUST - under a microscope. It didn't come out 100%, but hey, conclusion No 3: while making one thing, you usually stumble on a new idea which you wouldn't have if you didn't do this one thing in the first place.

Now I know how I can make lovely hollyhocks inside the bead. I have been puzzled by the long middle part of this flower, not quite knowing how to deal with it. The answer is simple: murrini in pink with encased in clear yellow middles!

This particular bead needs more working on it: I put the yellow dots too close to the middle, they started touching the turquoise and now I have tiny black lines there - not good for a perfectionist (which I am not). And, of course, this murrini will do well in my "big, bright and bold" beads, so see you on ebay soon!