Saturday, 19 December 2009

Variety is the Spice of Life

First came my Sunbaked beads - simple, etched, doughnut-shaped beads in a huge range of different colour combinations.

Closely followed by Sunpots.

Then there were half sets, and custom sets - sets to fit Pandora bracelets too.

Then came Rolling Stones - similar to Sunbaked beads with a smaller hole and a more rustic look, every set features creamy ivory with toning colours.

Oh and don't forget Rolling Stones to fit Pandora bracelets! (These have been my Christmas 2009 best sellers - especially to America!)

Now I'm really having fun with Stonebaked beads - Sunbaked colours, Rolling Stones shape. I've just added two fresh sets to my website, Marine and Berry.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Christmas Prize Draw

Its that time of year ... time to be jolly and give stuff away!

I'm very happy to have an easy peasy pendant project in the new January 2010 issue of Beads & Beyond magazine, so I'm giving away two focal lentil beads just like the one in the mag.

All you have to do to enter is visit my website and use the Contact Me page to send me a Merry Christmas message. I'll draw the names of two winners at random on Saturday 19th December, just in time for the last Christmas post!

Only one entry per person please.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

End of Day Beads

I keep part used rods in jam jars, one for purples and pinks, one for greens, one for blues and one for spicy colours. They're all getting a bit bunged up with "long shorts" in the bottom so yesterday I tipped out the Purple jar and forced myself to use up the bits to make some "End of Day Beads". I made a couple of lentil focals like this one

and some round focals


And I even managed two Rolling Stone style sets!


Now my Purples jar is much tidier and I'm really pleased with the results!

I'm hoping to tidy up the Blues tonight ... and update the website tomorrow (Friday)!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

A point about Peacock

I've never really used Peacock Green as I heard it needs a different annealing temp - but I've now checked it with my filters and it appears to have annealed just fine at my usual temp of 520 degrees C.

I noticed its a spreader. The pic on the left shows white dots on a Peacock base, the white dots have been swallowed up by the Peacock and have a little dot in the middle -
see how the white dots on the Kryptonite bead on the right are unaffected.

So then I tried it the other way round - a white base. The bead on the left has Peacock dots over white, the Peacock has spread out and honeycombed across the base. The Slytherin dots on the right hand bead are more 'self-contained'!

Interesting ..... I tried a little experiment, using Peacock in one of those reactive spreading patchwork style beads (a la Emma Baird and Sarah Hornik Think Pink)

CIM Peace base, Peacock dots, then CIM Cranberry and CIM Lapis - not the best bead or photo but it could be good to play with this a bit more.

Slytherin Swirlies

Just want to slip in another pic of the wonderful Slytherin!

Check out Laura Sparling's new Roly Poly tutorial.

I heart Sangre

Of all the reds in the glassy world, CIM Sangre is my absolute favourite - its passionate, bright, vibrant, glowing ...

And it "strikes", which means the colour develops the more the glass is
worked in the flame, so you can get wonderful variation from transparent yellow to deep rich red, like in these wings.

Ooooh, glass with feeling!

My Messy Testing question was "We designed Sangre and Oz to be the perfect Christmas red and green. Did we succeed?"

I'd say .... "Yes!" Festive enough for fairy lights!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

I found a slot for Fremen

Right inbetween Effetre Sky Blue 224 and Effetre Opaque Light Turquoise 234!

The long bead uses CIM Sapphire on end and CIM Leaky Pen on the other ... just because ... (incidentally, the LP pitted on this bead).

The lentil on the left is made with Sky Blue and Effetre Copper Green, the one on the right is Fremen and CG - the Fremen is a little darker.

Fremen is such a pretty bright blue, I'm really pleased with how it turned out in this twistie made with raku, layered over Peace and silver foil.

Fantastic contrast between Fremen and the centre band of Stoneground - gotta do this again!

Slytherin ... so much nicer than it sounds!

Question: "We designed Slytherin to be dense enough to make twisties or leaf/vine cane. Were we successful?"

Did somebody mention twisties? Didn't I see Jolene trying out twisties with Slytherin? That's it, I can't resist, gotta have a go!

I used a base of CIM Peace, wrapped in silver foil then added my Slytherin twistie (made with raku and a little stoneground), chucked in a few dots here and there of more Slytherin, Stoneground, Raku and some Effetre Violet.

I added a stripe of Slytherin around this bead, I think I'll call it Soft n Swampy Slytherin - must remember to use less next time!

Answer: Yes :0)

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


I ran some pretty simple comparison tests with all the CIM whites: Peace, Marshmallow and Cirrus against Effetre White 204.

In the interests of my Sunbaked beads, I'm always on the lookout for new glasses that don't react to a wrap of silver wire - sadly, I won't be adding any of the CIM whites to my Sunbaked palette.

(Incidentally the white I do use is
made by Plowden & Thompson.)

The next test I ran was to see how they reacted to Hades dots.

I tried out Peace and Hades together some time ago and now I remember discovering that they get this metallic shadow between them - you can see a similar thing is happening with the Effetre white, although less pronounced. Those dots on the Peace bead look quite big ... hmmm...

I really like how the Cirrus and Marshmallow are behaving themselves with nice small dots, just how I applied them!

Last summer I made myself a necklace from white beads decorated with Double Helix Triton hearts - I love the way the Triton fumes the Effetre white to an aged sepia shade.

So lets see how the CIM whites react to Triton.

I found that Cirrus tends to swallow other colours a little - the hearts in the first bead on the left were too small and weak, so I made another bead with bigger dots and these were much better. Marshmallow just got on with the job again, the photo is bad but the reaction was quite good! I'm finding that other colours tend to spread on Peace - my Hades dots looked big and the same happened with Triton, so I made a second bead with smaller dots and it worked better.

My last test was to see how these Whites etch. I made a simple plain bead from each glass and after annealing and cleaning, I soaked them in EtchAll fluid for a few minutes.

The only surprise here was with Cirrus - which resisted the etching fluid and came out shiny! The others all etched nicely.

So in conclusion I've discovered a couple of things: I've never tried Cirrus or Marshmallow before this but I will definitely be using Cirrus again, I love the "floating" look when other colours are added to it. Marshmallow is a well behaved opal, it doesn't appear to swallow or spread, it etches okay. Peace is a great alternative to Effetre White, as long as I remember that other colours tend to spread a little on it, so keep any decoration small and tight.

I went on to use Peace as a base for some other designs that I've been working on ... and I'm really pleased with the result, its great with silver foil melted in.

But more of that later!

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Coming Soon ...

... Slytherin ...

... and Whites

Better get started then!

As a new member of the Creation is Messy testing team, it really is time I got on with some proper feedback so I'm taking time out this weekend to work through the Feedback Form ... I keep getting a bit distracted though, its wonderful to have so many gorgeous colours to play with and see what happens when I mix this with that!

Here's a couple of pics previously submitted to Kathy Seamands.


I love this brand new colour from CIM: Mermaid, gorgeous rich blue-y sea green with some nice streaking, etches beautifully and also has that great dark-outline-reaction with Effetre ivory.

This is Mermaid mixed with some Effetre transparent green and DH Aurae, lovely!


Another new colour, a soft grey/brown opal.

Mink is a great colour, but as its an opal it doesn't etch too well - I had to give it much longer than usual, and wasn't too pleased with the outcome, I think its best left shiny!

Excuse the etching fluid residue on the photo.

Resistance is futile ...

I don't blog.
Won't ... can't ...