Monday 31 March 2014

T minus 1 and counting...

Well it's almost here, from tomorrow the A to Z Challenge kicks off on 1st April through to 30th April, 26 letters, 26 posts and 26 topics... and don't forget the 4 days off to recuperate!

In case you're wondering what letter falls when then here is the calendar of letters so you know what to expect and when... well you know what letter the topic will start with... the topic won't be revealed until the post is actually published.

Additional Info if you need it!

My theme is Curling Stones for Lego People - so basically anything you'd normally find here on the blog, modular (or charm) jewellery and related stories.

If you want to visit the main challenge website - just click the badge on the top right of the page or the banner on the footer and that will take you there directly.

Each post will be quite short, as essentially I value my sanity and as a first timer I'm following the sound advice given by those experienced in the challenge; also it will make it easier for other participants who might be visiting.

I'm aiming to post each day by 8.30am GMT.

The subscription emails will go out sometime after 9am so for the easiest way to follow - just sign up with your email.  You can find the subscription box at the top right hand side of the web page, you will then receive a verification email to reply to and then voila, your emails will be delivered to you each time there's new content.  You can unsubscribe at any time by just clicking on the unsubscribe link on the emails - or contact me directly via the blog.

If you use Bloglovin' or GFC you can follow through these methods, keep an eye on my Twitter feed, my Facebook Page or follow the links on Pinterest.

If you're like me, you can do it the old fashioned way, just bookmark the page and come back whenever you like!

Eek, it's almost here!!

Saturday 29 March 2014

Links of London - Skull Friendship Bracelet

Some things are just a long time coming, take this Links of London bracelet for example...

Back in May last year I attended a lovely Troll Meet in Yorkshire and whilst our focus was most certainly on Trollbeads, we are all jewellery lovers and so naturally swapped details about what we were wearing.

A bracelet caught my eye, and I wasn't the only one who was smitten with it!  It was of course the Links of London Skull Friendship Bracelet; if you've taken the time to read my new About page, then you'll know I'm drawn to jewellery with skulls, so no surprise this one caught my eye!

My bracelet arrived in style, although I honestly thought we'd received a parcel of shoes for next door by mistake until I saw the label was addressed to me - the box is huge and most certainly will not fit through your letterbox; your dog flap perhaps.

Once you get into your shoebox, you get a Links of London Bag (ah that's why the outer box was so big), a catalogue, information letters and your own mini-presentation box - I love jewellery that comes tied to a padded cushion!  If you're ordering online and don't have the chance to have the "in shop experience" it's nice to get some of that at home.  

Obviously for us bloggers who are incapable of tying ribbons up in a pretty presentation style we have to take the photos now, or we'll never be able to recreate that professionally tied ribbon moment for you ever again!

I'm no stranger to friendship bracelets, back in my late teens / early twenties I used to wear these a lot.  Fast forward to now and the simple friendship bracelet has been transformed into a piece of jewellery I most certainly will not be wearing 24/7 for X amount of time and then cutting off before it walks off my wrist by itself...  apparently according the information that came with my bracelet, I can not only take this one off but wash it too!

Although one could argue mildly about the 24/7 element, I was so smitten with this when it arrived that it didn't make it off my wrist until I was about to go to sleep and it was the first thing I put on when I woke up!

This bracelet had to be saved up for, as unlike modular jewellery where you can buy a piece at a time, this is not an option here.  In addition I've been stalking the Links of London sales since last May, and whilst some of the many variations of this bracelet have been on sale, some with a 50% discount, they've never had this one (silver with grey) in the sales that I've come across.

What prompted me to get this now, rather than later (I'm so rubbish at saving up) was a discount scheme at work, it just so happened that one of the places I could shop with was Links of London.  Although there were a few days left for the promotion to run, I didn't hesitate, several clicks later and it was on it's way.

I guess that's one of the benefits of so much window shopping and wish list making, you've already decided you want it; it's just a case of waiting for the right moment!

Finally, before I go, let me share with you that this is the 200th blog post on Curling Stones, which after all is a bit of a milestone!  I wanted to deliberately schedule what I wrote about today, and a friendship bracelet felt rather appropriate as I wish to pass on my love to you all!

Give your friends some love; that's something precious you can do for free!

Sunday 23 March 2014

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2014

The observant amongst you may have noticed a new badge appear at the top of the sidebar a few weeks ago and you may have even been curious enough to click on it... but if you haven't or if you didn't, I'm here now to tell you all about it.

I've lost my mind, er, I mean I'm going to attempt to blog my way from A to Z throughout April as part of the official 2014 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.

Essentially this means one post per day throughout April, with each post designated by the corresponding letter of the alphabet with Sundays off for good behaviour, sleep.  Lots of bloggers are taking part and everyone, participants and supporters alike, are encouraged to go browse the official list and comment on the posts.

In order to keep things sane, the advice I've received is to keep posts relatively short!  So in April there will be no War and Peace rambling posts but fear not, all the posts will be my usual fare of Trollbeads and Jewellery and associated things you'd normally expect to find on Curling Stones for Lego People.

I'd love for you to join me in my journey, so whether as one of my blogging friends you join in the challenge yourself, or as a regular or new visitor you pop in during April to give me some support, you can sign up to receive posts direct by email, follow via Bloglovin', bookmark the page to check in directly or come back once it's safe and browse the A to Z in one go!  However you do it - I'd love to see you here!

Mars xx

Monday 17 March 2014

Bali Clicks - My New Bracelet!

I have a new bracelet!

This one is by Bali Clicks and is a single leather band that simply closes by the use of poppers.  You can have it with both poppers done up or just the one to adjust the size.  I wear mine on just one, so it works as an oversized bangle - I have very small wrists, so if I wear this tight to my wrist it looks a bit too wide, loose it looks more in proportion.  You can buy the bracelets in different sizes so if I wanted to wear one with both done up I'd just buy the next size up.

The bracelets come in a range of colours and finishes (from neutrals to bright colours, leather to fur) and single or double wraps so there's a fair bit of choice.  Initially I ordered the brown leather "salmon skin" finish but sadly it was no longer available, I switched to the brown "print" version and I'm just as pleased with my choice, I also saved money on my original order as it was the cheaper version!

I love the little details on this and it can be customised with a whole range of different "clicks", these are very easy to swap around by simply popping on and off to get a totally different look each time.  Clicks wise, left to right in the photos above, these 3 are natural green stone, blue/green sparkly and sea green sparkly.

Natural green stone which is now on the right in the photo above, (I didn't notice until I was editing that I'd photographed this shot the other way around, d'oh!) comes more as a dome shape whereas the other two are flatter in appearance, it's not a detail you really notice when you're wearing it but I know that may bother some of my readers who like things to match evenly where possible.

One of the attractions of Bali Clicks for me, aside from looks, is that that the clicks themselves are around £7 each; so I can buy 3 of these for less than the price of a new Trollbead which makes changing the look of a bracelet a more affordable treat.

Admittedly I bought this bracelet and these clicks with summer in mind and long floaty dresses for that Boho appeal but I've been "road testing" it around the house for practicality and comfort (all good) and decided that a very cold and windy trip out to the East Coast of the UK was just what was needed before this gets put away ready for summer!

If you look closely you can just about see the bird I captured in the left hand side of the photo... I didn't take too many photos as it was VERY windy and I was actually scared my phone was going to blow out of my hands!  The weather forecast for Friday was initially nicer than the reality but we decided to go even though as you can see visibility was a bit, er, misty!

As I was knew where we were headed I couldn't resist also wearing, on my opposite wrist, my Trollbeads & Redbalifrog Winter Beach Bracelet which was inspired by this coastline and the green tones on my Bali Clicks bracelet complemented those I chose for my Winter Beach Bracelet...

Maybe it's not just for summer after all?

Thursday 13 March 2014

Bracelet makeovers - Blue Agate Bracelet 2014

This blog post was inspired by a question asked in a Trollbead Group last month:

"Do you have any bracelets with the same style bead
in different colours used repeatedly?"

I dug out a photo of my Blue Agate Bracelet, as whilst not strictly different colours, (as they are either turquoise or striped turquoise), no two are exactly alike so I shared my photo with the group.

The photo below is of one of the first bracelets I made when I started collecting Trollbeads (back in February 2012) and it got me thinking that it might be fun to remake this but with the choice of beads I have in my bead box today, I, a'hem, didn't have so many back then!

Being a make and break kind of girl my bracelets don't hang around for long, so a makeover for an old design results in a new bracelet.  Well it does until I get bored and dismantle it again to use one of the beads somewhere else!

Blue Agate Bracelet in April 2012

Actually, hang on a minute, in looking through my old photos I've realised I already did this once before... that's the problem with make and break, you forget these things as bracelets can be quite fleeting - good job I keep a blog and a record of (most) bracelets I make.  A'hem, here is the one from last year.

Blue Agate Bracelet in January 2013

What I do remember now, looking at this photo, is that it was only after I'd taken the photo, did I notice that one of my agates had developed a nasty crack along it, one of the problems that can occur with natural stones.

I really should have returned the agate to the original shop but I was feeling lazy at the time and I confess I didn't actually get around to doing it - it's still in my bead box!  I picked up another agate preloved to replace that one in case you're wondering where it is in today's photo and how come I still have 12...

So March 2014; what design to pick for this year's version?

I returned to some old favourite beads, even though I have brand new shiny new ones waiting to be used - I realised that I haven't used Wisdom in ages (shame on me) so out that came, along with some Zodiac Stars and I chose 2 different types of knotted silver beads (2 of each one) and the Freya knot lock to complement them.  One of the benefits I discovered in remaking this bracelet with different beads (especially using multiples of silver beads) is that I can better match up the design to show off the agates by matching the silver beads and lock so the agates really are the feature, looking back I think the 2013 version looked a bit busy.

Blue Agate Bracelet in March 2014

I'm constantly fascinated by bracelet design; if I had to rank these 3 in order of my preferences now, I'd put 2014 at the top, then 2012 in second place and relegate 2013 to third!

I'm curious as to how other people approach bracelet design, I know I'm unusual in that I make and break most of my bracelets on a regular basis (it's a rare bracelet that escapes my create / destroy / create cycle) but I know most of my own bead friends and people I meet seem to keep permanent bracelet designs together, and although they might make the occasional tweak with a different bead every now and then, the basis of the bracelet rarely changes.

I would love to hear from you about what you do and how you approach designing your own bracelets.

Are you a "permanent don't touch it" or a "permanent but tweak" - or are you a "make and break" like me or something completely different?  If you're just starting out, or thinking about it, what would you like to do?

Monday 3 March 2014

Story New UK Collection 2014 ~ Bracelets

So what else is new for the 2014 Collection?

Image by Story - Please do not reproduce without crediting

Image by Story - Please do not reproduce without crediting

Image by Story - Please do not reproduce without crediting

In addition to the Watch Charms, Story are introducing silk bracelets in both neutral and strong colours to their already extensive bracelet range.  You can buy the ones above as Starter Bracelets: a bracelet and 1 charm for an introductory price, Silk bracelets are in the same price range as the lambskin, £59 making the Starter Bracelet at £69 a very good deal if you like the charm!

I can't make my mind up on the silk yet, I love the idea of different textures but I'm not sure they're for me, these are a definite see them in real life in the shop and make up my mind once seen and tried personally - I buy a lot of things by touch as much as I do by sight; so I definitely want a quick rub first!!

Image by Story - Please do not reproduce without crediting

So what have I got my beady eye on this time, well aside from the ever versatile black lambskin bracelet I already have there's actually quite a big choice... I really like the olive army green lambskin from the featured bracelet pic above, but I'm still hankering after the aubergine purple lambskin one too!

Steel, lambskin and silk Story Bracelets
Image by Story - Please do not reproduce without crediting

In addition to the new silk bracelets in a range of different colours, do I spot a new Rose Gold finish in the Steel bracelets??  I've yet to see the Steel Bracelets (and the pearl bracelets) so I've got quite a window shopping list to get through when I next visit my nearest Story Retailer!

I think I really want the blackened version of the steel bracelet, so again it's a case of saving up for this.  I find I'm stacking different brands regularly now and as well as looking really versatile I have some gorgeous drop charms that I think would work really well with this as a bracelet in it's own right.

Image by Story - 
Please do not reproduce without crediting
Image by Story - 
Please do not reproduce without crediting
Image by Story - 
Please do not reproduce without crediting

The Steel Bracelets retail for £95, which is the same as the snakeskin, the pearl for £119 and the semi-precious gemstone strings start at £179 up to £239.

Snakeskin, semi-precious gemstone and pearl Story Bracelets
Image by Story - Please do not reproduce without crediting

Semi-precious gemstones
Image by Story - 
Please do not reproduce without crediting
Image by Story - 
Please do not reproduce without crediting

Image by Story - 
Please do not reproduce without crediting

Image by Story - 
Please do not reproduce without crediting

Some of my current bracelets seem to be missing from the collection; I'm not sure whether they've been phased out or indeed how this works with Story, (with me being a fairly new customer to the brand), but the new booklet doesn't include my lovely garnet string or the delicious olive green leather string I already own.  I've noticed some other missing designs and I'm starting to get a bit twitchy on those 50% sales bargains I might have missed thinking I'd get them another time!

It hasn't escaped my attention that Labradorite has been added to the semi-precious gemstone range, bad news for my Boiler Fund as this is one of my favourite stones.  Let's hope I get sidetracked by the steel ones first...

What do you think to the new bracelets that are debuting in this collection?  Is silk for you or do you have your eye on something else?  Would love to hear what you think!

Image by Story - Please do not reproduce without crediting

Sunday 2 March 2014

Trollbeads Amber and Amethyst Bracelet

I thought I'd show you my Amber and Amethyst Summer Stones Bracelet today.

I loved the Trollbeads Limited Edition Summer Stones Collection when it was released last May and it consumed most of my bead fund for a Trollbead Meet (and some)!  Whilst the photo below shows the final tally of what I picked up all together last year - I *always* intended to pick up some more when I had the funds, if there were any left of course!

My Summer Stones Collection

You can still find some of the other stones around, however the amethysts tended to disappear fairly swiftly as they were very popular at the time.  I was really pleased to stumble across a 4th amethyst preloved from another collector up for sale.

Trollbeads Summer Stone Collection - Amethysts

I immediately wanted to use all four together and decided to pair them with a variety of amber beads and some silvers to make a new bracelet.

The focal bead changed quite a few times before I finally settled on my Baby Dragon splitter bead which is more usually seen on my Pearl Fantasy Necklace but has since migrated to this bracelet for the weekend, and er, possibly a bit longer... 

Trollbeads Amber and Amethyst Summer Stones Bracelet

A friend has pointed out how awesome a nice faceted amethyst would look here as a focal... I don't have one yet (although I've been looking for the right one for a very long time), so I'm just going to push that up the To Do List a little higher!  Now should that come before or after my Boiler Replacements???

Saturday 1 March 2014

Story New UK Collection 2014 ~ Watch Charms

Twitter is a wonderful thing, only sometimes it leads to news that you have to sit on for a month and wait until said news can go public...  well that time has finally come... look what's coming to the UK!

Image courtesy of Story - Please do not reproduce without crediting

Story Watch Charms!

I've been excited about these ever since I saw them featured on Endangered Trolls last year but unfortunately we weren't to see them debut in the UK as they remained exclusive to the Danish Market.

Not any more.

Image courtesy of Story - Please do not reproduce without crediting

No confirmed news on exactly what date these will be with the Story Retailers but I do have the info on the range of designs and what prices they will retail at in the UK.

There will be a choice of 14 watch designs ranging from £59-£119 and in 4 different finishes, these are all high gloss polished steel, with genuine shards of mother-of-pearl and come with or without the bling of Swarovski Crystals!

You wear them on your Story Bracelet as you would do any other charm, and voila you have a new watch every time!

When my last watch gave up the ghost (matched beautifully with my Story Garnet String Bracelet in case you were curious) I decided I wasn't going to buy a new strap or new watch... I was going to save up for a Story Watch Charm instead.  I've had to wait a wee bit longer than I thought, but it will be nice to be able to finally tell the time once more, without having to liberate my phone from my bag every time by just glancing at my suitably adorned wrist instead.

The beauty of watch charms is you can change your bracelets, add other charms or wear it by itself, it's the ultimate modular watch!

I've seen other watch charms before and even considered dabbling in the ones that fit Troll bracelets, but I've never really wanted to wear one as a full charm bracelet, or one that might rotate on the chain, as I need something practical for work if I'm typing.  As Story charms sit so snugly on the bracelet and I know they are practical for work this is my perfect solution to take the plunge into trying to be on time... yes they have magical properties which will cure my time keeping too! ;)

Right that's enough blathering on by me about why I'm so stoked they're coming to the UK... What *exactly* is coming?

L-R: Story Watch Charms - Roman and Simple
Image courtesy of Story - Please do not reproduce without crediting

In the black finish you have 2 choices, the square "Roman" design which retails at £59 or the round "Simple" design which retails at £69, you can get both of these designs in all four finishes at exactly the same prices.

In the rose gold coloured finish you can get an additional 2 designs, "Sparkle" and "Dark Sparkle" as well as Roman and Simple.

L-R: Story Watch Charms - Roman, Simple, Sparkle and Dark Sparkle
Image courtesy of Story - Please do not reproduce without crediting

Sparkle and Dark Sparkle are both priced at £119.

In the silver coloured finish, you have a choice of Roman, Simple, Sparkle and Flower.

L-R: Story Watch Charms - Roman, Simple, Sparkle and Flower
Image courtesy of Story - Please do not reproduce without crediting

All the Sparkle designs are priced at £119 whilst the Flower designs retail for £95.

Finally you can get the same four designs in a gold coloured finish too.

L-R: Story Watch Charms - Roman, Simple, Sparkle and Flower
Image courtesy of Story - Please do not reproduce without crediting

I don't think my thoughts have changed much since I first saw these; my favourites are still the black square Roman design and the round silver coloured Simple design, although I have to confess my eyes keep getting drawn to the rose gold coloured Dark Sparkle!  Alas, that is above and beyond my current watch charm budget!  I also wouldn't have anything else to go with it unless I were to pick up a few rose gold skulls... a'hem *must remember my Boiler Fund* and not get too carried away... for now!

So my lovely readers, do you see anything you fancy?  Have you worn watch charms before?  Will you when they are available?  I'd love to hear what you think!

I'm blindly making the assumption (based on NO evidence, facts or indeed knowledge) that as our lovely UK retailers ship worldwide, that even if these aren't released elsewhere (but I also blindly assume they will based on just having a positive outlook on life and nothing else) that other folk will be able to buy these soon too - even if you don't live in Denmark or the UK!

UPDATE: I did indeed get a lovely watch charm ~