Sunday, 7 December 2008

Viking Beads

Apparently a tenth century Arab once said that the Vikings would go to any length to get hold of colored beads.  They valued beads so highly that they were considered to be a valuable property and were past down through the generations.  Beads are the most commonly found artifact in pre-Christian Viking graves, kinda shows just how important they were.

That really got me thinking about what sort of beads they liked when I came across these modern reproduction of Viking beads


They all look a bit like newbie beads to me...  they also had Millefirori beads


that was quite a surprise to me.  It appears that they made them in more or less the same way we make them today.

So how did they use them... by the looks of it in treasure bracelet  and necklaces which would be incredibly contemporary today.

Got me thinking about how to use the beads I create and I wondered if Viking Knit could be a way to show them off.  Turns out to be a fairly easy thing to do and can create different effects


So here we have a test bracelet I've made for myself.  Before I make or sell anything for anyone else I generally do a test piece first or use techniques I'm sure of.  Turns out to be a good practice as a necklace I bought from a friend and have worn 3 times broke this morning as I was putting it on as the beads were just too heaving for the stringing material.


Thank you for your interest in my work


Monday, 1 December 2008

Funky Cabs

These are a first for me... matching lampwork cabochons which I'm planning on using for Christmas presents for my family.  They will ultimately become part of my range of giggle gifts range.  People will be able to choose the base colour, the colour of the line and the colour of the dots. 


I will also be introducing other funky designs which can be part of pendants, cufflinks, earrings whatever is wanted which people can personalise for themselves

Thank you for your interest in my work


Saturday, 29 November 2008

Stones of Fire and Giggle Gifts

For those of you who have read my blog over a period of time you will have seen that I have been suffering a major identity crisis in my glass work.  As I sit and look back at it there are definitely a number of conflicting ideas

  • wanting to create a range of up market jewellery
  • beads that seem to have developed a nature theme and are more arty
  • beads which are more simple but funky
  • a desire to create more costume jewellery

Putting these together it becomes clear that I have been struggling to find out who I am which affects how I promote myself and all those other fun things that come with trying to run a little business. 

I know you might think that I am thinking about things too much and making life harder than it needs to be.  Well if you don’t I certainly do.  I had thought about just letting the style continue and grow until I realized that there are probably two distinct styles that I want to create and ultimately it boils down to the difference between art and craft.

So simple I create an art range and a craft range

So let me introduce STONES OF FIRE the art range

This will be a place to showcase my intricate art beads using murrini, implosions and fine stringer control.  Often these will be set by myself in silver.  The silver will be hallmarked by the assay office in London so you can be assured you are receiving awesome one off wearable glass art.

And let me introduce GIGGLE GIFTS the craft range

This will be a range of more costume jewellery, simple jewellery beads which is affordable and has a funky edge to it.  My hope is that over time that this range may end up being specifically focused at young families and include fingerprint jewellery, jewellery with personalised pictures and electroplated shoes and the like.  I'm not going to develop the young families range too much at the moment simply because whilst I am having fertility problems it's not really so wise to be around babies too much.

Thank you for your interest in my work.


Sunday, 2 November 2008

Big Bead Show

Well... its happened... and it went great... well I think it did anyway.


Like this it doesn't really look all that much but the good news is that bead show tables are nice and narrow so it looks like so much more.

If my aim was to break even, I did that and more and I'm so pleased.  I know others weren't so happy with the day but as a first show I think it went great.

The things to learn are about how to price my beads... man do I underprice... lol.  Having a wide range of beads is a really good idea but the things that sold were the things which were different from the other lampworkers and not production beads.  If a bead is only worth £3-4 put it in a rummage pot rather than trying to sell it as a focal.

The most fun thing for me and my ego was one of the sales I made.  The show was organized by Bead magazine.  The editor came round towards the end and was checking out how people had done.  She then proceeded to purchase a bead from me saying that she'd broken her own rule and I was the only one she had bought from today... just how cool is that and sooooo good for the ego.

There are loads of beads now up on the website.... happy hunting.  Julie

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Not As Old As I Thought

Isn't it always nice to realize your still new at your career and youthful.  For the last 7 years I've been the senior member of my team in my paid job.  I guess in the world of lampworkers I'm still a baby... which is a lovely thought

On one of the lampwork forum they set up an Ages Poll.  At the time of me posting this of the folks who make lampwork beads.

8-25 years old   = 3.4%

26-35 years old = 14.97%

36-45 years old = 32.49%

46-55 years old = 33.16%

56-65 years old = 13.27%

66-75 years old = 2.55%

76-85 years old = 0.17%

Now this is so cool because I fall into the 26-35 year old category.  Makes me feel so much better and somehow makes me think, wow, that gives me time to learn and develop.  I have years of this career ahead of me rather than thinking I've hit the glass ceiling and can't go any further.  Means I have time to develop my own style and find my niche in the market rather than having to be the best at everything right now.


I just thought I'd also show you some beads which I'm calling tiny treasures.  These beads are 5 mm from hole to hole which means that they are fantastic for making into jewellery as they are small enough to be part of a set yet distinct enough to be fab beads.

Thank you for your interest in my musings


Saturday, 25 October 2008

Big Bead Show Prep

It's amazing how much time it takes to put sets together and photograph them.  I have to say though I'm really happy that I've done it and I can begin to see what sort of stuff I have made ready for the Big Bead Show.

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By a long way I don't feel as if I've made enough but at least I feel as If I'm on my way and wont be ashamed of what I end up taking.  I guess the truth is that I'm beginning to get anxious about this and wonder how people will take my work.  The truth is I wont know until the show.

IMG_3621 copy

Thanx for dropping by.  Wish me luck for next Saturday.


Saturday, 18 October 2008

I'm a Full Time Lampworker...

... well I am for at 2 weeks. 

I've left my last job and start a new one in two weeks, but that gives me two weeks to prepare for the Big Bead Show ... re-write my web site which has been winding me up as Mr Site will just not behave ... and make loadsa beads.

I've got a whole pile of beads which need to be cleaned and I will get those photos up in the next few days, but the main priority is fighting Dreamweaver.  I hope I'm winning but we will see in the next few days.  I feel really excited as it will give me full control over how the web site works... and I wont have to fight something which although meant to be easy... really isn't.

Signing off as a lady of luxury... lol

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Facebook business page

So today I was supposed to be making beads... kinda hasn't happened but instead I've been making a facebook business page.  Rowanberry Glass was telling me how good its been for her business, so I decided to give it a go.

So its up and running hopefully you'll like it

I've also been making some more sculptural beads.  This one is a little bird.  I made a whole flock and the do look cool together.  The can be used to make really cute earrings.


I can see a whole line of little creatures coming.  Dragonflies, beads and of course cute teddies.

I've put a whole new load of snaps of the beads I plan to take to the big bead fair on flickr.  They aren't selling piccies but more of a record of what I've been making. Enjoy

Thank you for dropping by


Thursday, 4 September 2008

Close encounter with a tree

Have to say it was A's rather than mine...

I got home from the gym at 9.00pm to find the front door locked.  Seeing as I have a horrible habit of locking A in when I go out I thought I had had one of my dozy moments.

What I found when I got in was a sorry for himself looking husband with a dog lying at his feet.  A looked as if the dog had scratched him down his face leaving a long scratch from his forehead to his cheek.

What had happened is he had gone for a walk in the dark, and a fallen tree branch attacked him leaving an amazing black eye and scratch to his face. 

In many ways it was a huge relief, but I did wanna go out and attack the tree which attacked him.  A had cataracts removed so his eye sight is incredibly precious.  My fear was if the dog had got him his eye could be injured, as it was it was only his face...

Monday, 1 September 2008

Forum Etiquette

You know I've been mulling this whole forum etiquette thing... why do some people get more comments from their comments and photos and others don't.... if you post a picture so that others will say that's nice but don't say anything about any one else's stuff is that breaking a subtle rule.... why do I use forums to promote my work when I make beads so other lampworker's don't really need to see what I make as generally they aren't my customers and it risks having a design your working on being copied by others ...

I guess this is me mulling again cos I don't really have any answers.  I'm coming to the conclusion is that I want a place to discuss glass and not someone stomach ache, a place to improve my skills and learn not read the latest crude joke... and I guess that's where the problem lies... I'm really not good at this whole networking thing.  I have enough of peoples misery and sorrow at work... I need an escape. 

I come to a point regularly every month saying to myself, what can I do to improve my work and promote it better... and you know I ask it monthly and never come up with any answers... so my plan this month is as I ask myself these questions is to write down some answers... and have a go at promoting myself to a far wider audience. 

So I guess watch this space and lets see how this one develops

thanx for dropping by


Sunday, 24 August 2008


So I decided that I would go to Stourbrige glass festival... really interesting and fantastic stuff... what was really nice for me is that I went wearing these beads. I don't think I've ever had so many nice fomments about my beads... it was lovely... thank you

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Freedom at last

I've been struggling for ages with completing a regular wholesale order... not the making them but the constantly changing demands of the person buying them.... then she had the cheek to ask for 100 beads in one week more than I normally provide... and return 60 of them.... as "unsuitable".

I've finally given it up and feel so so much better for it, I've even made some beads for myself.

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How cool is that... the beads aren't the most fantastic ever but I really think there is mileage in these designs... I also realize that my standards around beads must have changed because in the past I would have been soooo proud of these.

And regarding the diet.... I said for every pound I lost I would put money aside to get to Hawaii and would monitor the distance to get there... well... according to my map I've traveled 1086 miles of the 7240 miles I need to get there... how fun is that.... I'm currently south of Iceland on my map in the middle of the Atlantic.

Map image
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Thursday, 24 July 2008

Hawaii Here we Come

Well we will do.  I just think its the most fabulous place and I'd really like to visit... So I have a scheme

I've decided that the best way for me to motivate myself into dieting is to give myself a goal.  My goal is to loose... er yes well... rather a lot of weight.

I've broken that down into little goals but ultimately I've set myself a goal of getting to Hawaii

there is now a map on our lounge wall.  it has the distance from London to Hawaii marked, that's then divided by the number of pounds I need to loose.  So all in all I've lost enough weight to get to Lands End... I guess that this weeks weight loss is about taking that plunge into the Atlantic Ocean

Monday, 21 July 2008

Are You Sure Chocolate Isn't a Food Group

Its sad to say, but I think I may have found the reason for my absence in weight loss.  It appears that contrary to my hopes chocolate isn't a food group with a minimum daily recommendation. 

The weight is slowly beginning to shift after a month of exercise and no change in the weight.  that was so disappointing.  Going up to the gym three times a week and swimming... and the weight wasn't shifting. 

Although having said that because my posture is so much better I'm now an inch taller.  That takes me over the milestone of 5 foot... wooo hoo.  I've also dropped a clothes size and folks are beginning to notice the difference... which is such a good thing for my ego.

Anyway the holiday relax is beginning to make a difference.  I feel for the first time in ages that I actually want to make some beads... so that's a real difference.

Thanx for dropping in, hopefully there will some glassy goodies to look at soon


Wednesday, 16 July 2008

New Computer

Lets be honest there hasn't been much up here new.  But that's because I've not really made anything.

I'm currently off work deciding how I want to take the business forward.  The truth is that the wholesale order has been fantastic at providing a steady income.  Unfortunately it has used all my time to do the creative stuff.

Another one of the problems has been that the computer died.  Wot a pain in the butt.  It died from an error that was introduced when it was fixed and then permanently died literally the day after the guarantee expired.  So I'm now sitting here with a fab new computer.

Wot I will say is watch this space for faceted beads, enamel beads and glass jewellery.  I'm on holiday for the next two weeks so hopefully there will be something new and interesting to look at.

Thanx for dropping by


Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Is it really over a month

Well I guess it must be since I posted last.
As I was thinking about writing this it was becoming a bit like one of those letters you send to your gran after they've given you a present.
Dear gran, thank you for your wonderful gift, I really like it. Since I last wrote to you I have grown 3 inches, got new teeth and a new red bicycle.
Life hasn't really been that interesting at this end really. A lot of my time has been working towards getting a wholesale order sorted. The time I need for it hasn't been too much but trying to get my head round what was wanted has been. But woo hoo.... looks like I'm finally there.

I was out in the shed doing the wholesale order this morning and stopped for lunch. When I went back to do my creative things I have been looking forward to for ages, I realised I'd managed to leave the propane valve a little open and it had been leaking.
As I couldn't smell gas I nearly re lit the torch... so glad my brain is working a little because I didn't.
Anyway, the plan is now to get my new giggle beads on the site and then bead some more of the nature inspired beads when I'm less likely to blow myself up... doh

Monday, 10 March 2008

Wot a shame

In my last post I was really excited about the idea of a wholesale order. I've spent time trying to work out wether it is something I can do for the money that I was being offered. We had agreed that I would do some sample beads for this week.

What became obvious really quickly was that for the price being offered I would need to make the beads in 1.5 mins... they were taking me 4-6 mins. That is such a big differnce that there is no way I can do that. It also measn that onee all the costs are take out I would be working at below the minium wage.

I feel really sad about it but I know that declining is the right thing to do. After all I'm the one who often talks on forums about charging a fair amount for your beads. I also strongly believe that yoiu offer a worker a fair wage... wether that be in this country or abroad.

This experience has reminded me of thoughts I had last summer about fair trade goods and just how wrong it is for workers to be paid so little in India and China when they make beads. Not only are the beads of a poor quality, and possilby not annealed so they are not strong, but the workers work in really hot environments.

Thanks for reading


Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Exciting News

I feel like bouncing, I'm so excited. I've been talking to some one about the possibility of doing some wholesale bead making for them. All that needs to happen is for me to do some test beads to see if they are happy with what they receive and for me to be certain that its a commitment I can keep to.

Hopefully by this time next week I'll know whether it is something I am able to do and maintain. If I can it will mean that it frees me up to make the more arty jewellery I want to do... so this could be the answer to my prayers about what to do with my time

The rest of my evening tonight has been preparing an order for a local shop... I really had forgotten how long that takes... although I do one once a month for them... I really must have short term memory problems

Watch this space for updates


Monday, 3 March 2008

New Beads

Hey there,

Today's been an interesting day. The lock on the flat was completely broken... it took the poor guy an hour to get into the flat. At least it was secure.

He managed to open the door just as the surveyor for the new mortgage arrived... He was half an hour early so it was good the locksmith had managed to do his bit

The good news is that there should be no problem with the mortage

But I started the cleaning... they guys who were lodging had no idea what cleaining was. Whats really making me sad is that my brand new cooker looks absolutely aweful. Lets hope the new guys in will respect the place more.

So today has been a day of cleaning and sorting the flat and not bead making. But I do have a bunch of new bead sets up on the website

Thanx for reading


Sunday, 2 March 2008

Don't ya just love it when technology works

There have been a couple of really fantastic things which have happened over the last couple of days which will make my bead listing soooo much easier.

Firstly Mr Site has listened to its customers and there is now the ability to add more pictures to the listing... and is soooo much easier to list items. I just need to get all my pictures to line up with the changes... but hey that's no problem.

And the second thing... Skype have finally added a patch. Doesn't sound so exciting, but what was happening is that when I was listing beads, explorer would regularly crash... no warning. I was getting really frustrated ... and had told the guys at Skype as much.... but today.... wooo hooo... no problem. The patch works

It only took a few minutes to change to the new Mr Site layout and normally doing something like that would have taken me hours with these two glitches...

Julie is a happy girl..

.... oooooh and a quick flat update.... that seems to be going smoothly to... well getting the passport anyway... the passport offices has such an incredibly simple and efficient system.... and I have a passport... just need to get the locks on the flat sorted tomorrow...

New beadies should be listed tomorrow.... I have some in the kiln and some spacers so I can list some stuff I made before

Thanx for reading


Friday, 29 February 2008


With all this flat stuff I havent had time to bead and its really begining to get me down. Not to mention that I need to do an Easter order for a beadshop.

This week isnt gonna be much better because I'm doing the passport thing on Saturday, I have to go to the flat on Sunday to check out whether or not the lock to the flat is broken. Yes you did read right. The estate agent managed to get into the flat on Monday but by Tuesday when the surveyor was meant to go round the lock was broken... grrr. Then Monday I need to be there again to let the surveyor in and sort our some of the decorating... So much for getting any beading done this week.

The good news is that I have started a diet and this week lost 4 lb... so impressed with myself. Long way to go but here's the start.

Thanx for reading.


Friday, 22 February 2008

Flat Changes

For those of you who have been following the saga over the last few years… ermmm… there have been some changes.

Following the really sill offer of £20,000 less than the asking price they offered £12,000 less as their final offer… errr, no, me thinks not accepted. It then got interesting because we got an offer for the full asking price… great… you might be thinking… but err no.

A and I had had a long discussion about what we should be doing and we had decided that we definitely wanted to go down the buy to let route ourselves. By the time the mortgage was sorted we should be debt free in 6 months, and still be on the property ladder. Not only on the property ladder but in Aldershot which was one of the places in the country identified by Location Location Location as a good place to invest.

The long and the short of it is, that we declined the full price offer. They then came back the following day saying they would offer more than the asking price… and we still said no.

Now… the only problem with all this is proving that I am who I say I am. My passport has expires, my driving licence is in my maiden name and my wedding certificate is over 6 months old so doesn’t count.

So next weekend I have to get into London for 9.30… arrgggggg….. but at least it will all then be sorted… and the good news is that the letting agent already thinks they have someone to rent the place, how cool is that

See ya soon


Thursday, 21 February 2008


I've had a eureka moment.....

...I mentioned earlier on in the week that I had been mulling over what my branding is and not getting very far with it. I was saying my peacock beads sell, the tree and aquarium beads have opened avenues to sell the beads, yet people know me for my flowers.

I really didnt know what to do because I'm so aware that having a recognisable brand is what gets you sales.

I was hunting around to make sure that the links to the website were working from other peoples sites as a large number of people come to the site via these links. On the
UK Beaders website there is a link to lampwork suppliers and I was checking to see if my name had been added... and it was... but next to it was how Kitsch Kitty had percieved my work.... and now I see it, it is sooooo simple.

I create lampwork jewellery inspired by nature... now how easy and simple was that... lol

Now I can work out my branding and be happy. Thank you Kitsch Kitty


Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Flat Sale... cont

We had some more movement on the flat stuff today... I was getting really excited because one of the routes we need to take is to get a new mortgage and for that I need to renew my passport.. and can I get a good photo... err.. no... oh well. Someone was telling me it took them 5 attempts to get a photo that was acceptable as her head wasn't straight then her hair was in her eyes...

Unfortunately I missed my beading time yesterday as I had to drop some papers off at my financial advisor so thats really frustrating... anyway...

... but back to todays news.... we got an offer for the flat... only... it's £20,000 less than the asking price. That represents 12.5% of the selling price... why did they think I would accept that? Some people are strange hey...

Anyway... I discovered that the girl I gave a lesson to yesterday is completely addicted... and her mum and dad are very impressed with the beads... I wonder if we have a new child prodigy here, I think she may well be spending more time in the studio

Thanx for reading


Monday, 18 February 2008

New Beads 18 Feb 08

So these are the beads that I've managed to clean and photoshop
They will be up on the site very shortly
Its always amazed me how long it takes to clean, photoshop and post pictures

So here are this weeks offerings

Thanks for looking

Best Laid Plans

I agreed to show a friends daughter how to make beads today... only things didnt quite go to plan.

First of all the dog had left a welcome gift right by the shed door... nice.... then I got in to find that my bead release had frozen.... so with 5 minutes to go I only had one option... I had to microwave it.... I opened the microwave door only to find that the lid of the bead release had flown of.... so now I kinda need to clean the microwave.

I have to say though... smooth'n'tuff bead release seems to like being microwaved... it didnt play up at all today... which I thought with someone new to bead making pulling it around, it might have done... so is this the solution to my smooth and tuff problems... hope so... and may be a tip I need to pass

Anyway... this is just a mini post as there will be piccies of the new beads avaliable on my site posted later today... as monday is listings day...

See ya soon


Sunday, 17 February 2008

A Thank You and Some Mullings

First of all I would like to say a big thank you to Caroline Hannon who yesterday nominated me for a you make my day award. Thank you... and err... now I have to go and network to find people I would like to say thank you to... I need to find some friends... lol. I will pass it forward to 5 people I just need to work out who they will be...

One of my regular mullings is about how to make my work better known... and ultimately get sales. In my own head I've moved from hobbiest to professional and I've been suprised by the change of mindset I need to have.

I would describe myself as a lampworker with ADHD... well may be the attention stuff... not so sure about the hyperactivity. As a hobbiest that means that I can make whatever I like when I like, I havent had to worry about selling.

Now as I think about selling I realise because I've tried so many different things its hard to see a brand, and at the end of the day its the brand that sells. For example when I think of
Manda at Mango Beads I think of silver cores and well made organics, when I think of Caroline at Crafted Gems I think of bead sets which are great for jewellery, and when I think of Claire at Rowanberry Art Glass I think of fantastic focals....err... and loadsa tree beads.

So what is my brand... well its clear that its my peacock beads which sell the best by a long way, its my tree beads and aquarium beads which have opened doors to new avenues of selling but its my flower beads that people think of when they think of me.

So thats a style but what about a soul. I know that I would like to make jewellery and art beads that reflects my faith, that is honouring to God. So what does that mean... at the moment I'm not too sure... but watch this space and I'm sure it will make itself clear.

Thanx for reading


Saturday, 16 February 2008

Ooo... I might like this Etsy Showcase

I've not had an Etsy shop going that long but I decided that it was worth giving the showcase option a go. Basically £3.50 for a days worth of advertising.

Apparently there are two advantages... you get more people to notice you so you become peoples favorite sellers and it might boost your sales. Well within 4 hours of my 24 hour period I had a sale and a handful of people who love me as a seller... how cool is that... I am now an etsy seller... lol

These are the beads that sold

See ya soon


The Flat Saga Continues

New Beads are on Etsy

For those of you who are not aware I'm going for the record on how long it takes to sell a flat... we're currently on 4 and a half years with 4 buyers pulling out at the last minute. Quite an achievement I think.

I went back to the flat for the first time today since the non-paying lodgers moved out. Oh my, its in a mess. So I guess me and my paint roller will be getting to know each other... I sooooo don't like that job... but I need to cover when someone has drawn on the wall, someone has painted black board paint on the wall... and as for the random cupboard that were put up and removed... it looks like the wall has chicken pox.
And the question is... how do you forward important post to people, when you dont know thier address? The pile of post in the flat was so high it is silly and from the look of the outside of the envelopes I think one of them has just got points on their driving licence and I guess a fine... but they wont know about it becuase the letters have gone to my flat... so the question is what do I do. The evil part of me has one idea and the moral part of me says I need to find a way to forward it to them.Anyway...we've dropped the price of the flat... the estates agents are now in a race with the finacial advisor. The estate agent wins if they find a buyer before the buy to let mortgage comes through... but what ever way the estate agent wins if we let it out through them...

See ya soon... and lets hope this saga is coming to an end.