Thursday, 29 December 2011

Post-Christmas Lazy Days

Bead of the Day: "Ebay 1.6m Assortment"

Christmas is behind us, and the New Year is coming. I love these days: they are always so lazy - if you've got nothing planned, like me. Of course, there are bits and pieces to do, but generally it's relaxing after the pre-Christmas rush.

We had Rod's sister staying with us over Christmas, we went out for dinner on Christmas eve, as we always do, and for lunch on Boxing day, and it was her treat for us. There will be visitors in the next couple of days, the children's friends. I haven't been doing much in terms of bead making, and today is a lovely day, not too cold, so I will probably attempt to start on my tutorial for Bead magazine. It will be on making the Matrioshka bead, the winner of the British Bead Awards 2011. Although the actual article will be going into one of the summer issues of the magazine, they need the material for the 18th January, so I'd better get on with it. The actual making of the bead isn't complicated, but there will be many steps, especially on the shaping. So I'm looking forward to this challenge.

Also, and now it's not too early to reveal this little secret, one of my beads was included into the "Flow" magazine gallery of the winter issue, which is usually the issue dedicated to women in glass. I've had to keep it a secret until the issue was out, and now it's available, as I understand, but I haven't received my complimentary copy yet :(. I was also putting in some info about my book, but I haven't heard from them, so possibly they haven't liked it and didn't include the little promo write-up. Never mind.

Well, I hope you all are having a lovely festive season, and I'll be keeping you up to date with what's going on here. And I've started putting my "bargain" bead assortments on ebay, hence the photo of the Beads of the day. I don't think they are going to be too expensive, so if you are looking for some beads to practice your jewellery-making techniques on, they are there!:)

Thursday, 22 December 2011

And the Winner Is...

And the winner of the Festive Prize draw is Jane Tyrrell! Jane writes a wonderful blog ( of which I am a follower. She also has an Etsy shop ( ) where she sells beautiful jewellery and cards that she makes. Jane is a very talented jeweller, so it would be great if she lets me have a pic of what she's made with the "Morning Glory" beads. Thank you, Jane, for your support and I hope you have a lovely Christmas and a healthy, prosperous and peaceful New Year!

Apart from doing the Prize Draw, I've been thinking about starting a business page of Facebook for Nelli Rees Lampwork. The thing is, that although everything takes a lot of time for administration, it will give me a great chance of putting the links to my Etsy and ebay listings, especially if and when I put new beads and jewellery for sale. Whenever I do it on Facebook on my personal page, I always feel like I'm bugging my FB friends with my business things. My personal FB page is kind of for my "personal" things and announcements. I think it would be a good idea to split the two. So if you, my dear followers, get an invitation to "like" my new business page on FB, this is the explanation why I've done it.

Also, as you might know, my husband Rod has been writing "The Demi-Monde" books - saga, as they call it now, because there are four books in this series. It's been very close to both of us, as Rod asks me sometimes to proof read his work, and we do discuss the plot and the characters. So I'd also like to let my friends know what's happening on the Demi-Monde side of things, and again, I'd rather use my business page for these announcements.

I've looked into it, and it's not difficult, I'll just need to put some pix together to post on my profile etc, and I'll be in business! Talk to you soon!:)

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Festive Prize Draw

Bead of the Day: "Morning Glory"

The heating in the house we are in has decided that it's going to celebrate Christmas by not working. Yesterday the boiler gave up; thank goodness, there is a gas fire in the living room, it's not amazingly hot, but at least it gives out flames - to cheer me up.

On the bead front I've been busy this week sorting out all my beads, old and new, so in the next few weeks I'll be putting strands of 80+ beads on ebay. There are all sorts, as you can see from the photos:

I've got three Tesco's "15 Caramel and Belgian Chocolate Bites" tub-fulls of beads: two of them - beads made on 2.4mm mandrel and one - on 1.4mm mandrel. Now you know what I like to eat from time to time - alas, these three tubs have been empty for a long time (chocolate-wise, I mean:)).

It's this time of year when families get together, we give presents to each other, we celebrate and feel excited for the new year to come and bring us amazing adventures. So I'm announcing a Festive Prize Draw for the followers of my blog: this beautiful and happy bead set of three "Morning Glory" lentils and three etched white donut beads to give away to one lucky follower of my blog! The lentils have my "Morning Glory" design on one side which comprises two pink flowers, several bright yellow and orange "buds" and a variegated vine going around the flowers and buds. The design is raised. The other side of the lentils does not have a raised design, but there are sways of several shades of green glass there. You can make either three pendants out of this set, or a necklace/bracelet. The pix were taken, as is usual with me, in the natural light, so I think the green on the photos is a bit darker than it is in real life - there wasn't much sun today in Derbyshire, just snow!:)

To participate in the draw just send me either a comment on this post or an e-mail - whichever is easier for you. I'll draw the name of the winner on Tuesday, the 20th December, so that, hopefully, the beads reach you before Christmas. Good luck!

Friday, 9 December 2011

New Designs for Christmas

Bead of the Day: "Winter Wonderland"

The last post proved to be very popular, so thank you all who made comments here on the blog and on FB - very much appreciated, especially that I realise that I need a tutorial on how to use these tiny thingies.

Yesterday was - at last! - spent at the torch. Well, half of the day to be honest. There are always things in the way when you are at home, especially near Christmas time. I won't go into detail, but in the afternoon I finally got back in front of the torch - yey! I had lots of ideas, as you do when you've been away from it for such a long time, so I started melting glass happily, feeling extremely inspired. I made several focal beads, all of them with my own murrini, decorated with goldstone, silvered ivory stringer, the base bead was out of dark irovy overlaid with crystal clear in places, and of course, lots of Double Helix Aurae - for the lovely Christmas sparkle. I love Aurae - easy to get good results and it can be reduced into so many shiny colours: silver, gold, copper, and even gold and copper - with many shades. The bead with the murrini was dedicated to the star which was born for Jesus.

However, I'm using past tense here. This is because... Sadly, all my beads broke. I work in the conservatory, and to make sure there is plenty of fresh air, I open windows and the door. Yesterday was an exceptionally windy day, so no matter how hard I was trying to keep my beads in the flame, obviously, it wasn't enough. I was sad when I saw them all cracked, but I'm not anymore. I just need to work harder. The other thing is, I like the design I've come up with, especially with the star, so I'll be using it again - and it's not windy today!

One more thing to mention: I've decided to hold a raffle for my dear blog followers, and the set of beads that I'm going to give away is almost ready, I just need to make one more bead - it's always the way, isn't it? So I'll be "officially" announcing it in a couple of days, so that the beads would get to you in time for Christmas! :)

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Cable Thimbles - Almost a Product Review

Some of you who have been on FB recently might have heard that I've been making jewellery. That literally means NO making beads. I've been missing the flame and the cold in the conservatory, where my "studio" is at the moment. But. One has to do what one has to do. So many beads, so little time!

A while ago I bought these little "cable thimbles" from Palmer Metals - this company does offer best prices on sterling silver and some other stuff. I forgot all about the thimbles, as you do! So today, while looking for something else - again, those of you who have been on FB will be able to imagine just what this means on my desk! - I came across these little fellars and I thought, I'd give it a go.

The bracelet I was working on was almost ready: I only needed to attach my toggle clasp. While it is the "finishing touch" on a jewellery piece, everyone knows that attaching a clasp could take longer than making the actual bracelet itself. The first end was easy: I always start with the toggle, and here I had a lot of space wire-wise, so I pulled the stringing wire and hid it under the bead - no problem. AND I THOUGHT: hey, this is great! My bracelet ends are going to look soooo neat and professional!!! And I would do anything (well... to an extent!) for my jewellery to look just that. And I went on to attach the "toggle ring"...

... put the wire through the first groove...

...and back into the opposite one... my toggle ring on...

...and began to pull the wire, and that's where all the problems started. You can see, that the thimble simply disintegrated.

It took me ages to arrange it in the way which would be acceptable to my own quality control and to customers. Another thing was happening: the tiny crimp kept getting onto it as well, unfortunately, I haven't got that photo, I was too stressed to let go of my work and take the camera to take a shot!

Verdict: at 16p per thimble (remember, you'd have to have two - for each end) as an addition to your cost and having spent a good twenty minutes putting it on... sorry, I don't think so. BUT: if you've had better experience with these, please do share it!