Thursday, 30 April 2015

Z is for Zodiac Birthstone Stars

The final day of the A to Z Challenge!

It seemed fitting given that my theme was Addicted to Beads to finish on the one set of beads that I am known for being very addicted to... Zodiac Birthstone Stars from Trollbeads!

These are a set of 9 silver beads with a gemstone set at the centre of the bead to represent a birth sign, some of the stones are doubled up hence you have a set of 9 not 12.

As you can see I have at least 2 of each and more of some of the zodiac stars.  These were retired (no longer made) when I started collecting and it's taken me quite a while to get the first set, let alone the second or the multiples!!

I really love this set of beads.

Now if you'll excuse me... it's time to catch some Zzz's - but before you go...


Congratulations to those taking part and huge thank yous (above) to all the lovely people who have popped by Curling Stones for Lego People on the way to read, leave comments and generally just cheer us all on!

Final question of the Challenge from me:

What has been your favourite bit of the A to Z?

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Y is for Yellow Gold

A last minute surprise post in my Addicted to Beads theme as I'm generally a lover of white gold/silver/platinum and not a fan of yellow gold... but there should always be exceptions... I love mixed metal beads!!

So my Y today is dedicated to the first bead I ever fell in love with that contains Yellow Gold - Daisy by Trollbeads (a beadmaker brand).

It's quite a large bead (with a hefty price tag, so of course I bought it 2nd hand) and it's made up of 3 Daisy heads back to back with petals cast in silver and each disc in gold.  Each daisy head is different and together they form a large organic triangular shape. 

The collage above was made especially for this A to Z post - both to show off all aspects of the bead and to showcase the very first way I wore this bead; by itself on a black leather bracelet.

Daisy is currently on the bracelet shown below, a rich amber and silver design with that lovely hint of yellow gold in the centre.

Carved Amber Bracelet

There are so many metals that are used in jewellery, I myself love silver, but I also enjoy beads or links made from bronze, brass and I'm looking forward to a copper version of my silver bangle that Trollbeads are launching tomorrow.  I also like the use of glass, stones, rubber, leather and love the mix of all of these when used well.

So my questions for you today are...

What metals or materials do you most like to wear in Jewellery?
Do you mix'n'match or keep to one style?

Only one more post to go in the A to Z Challenge, we finish off the alphabet series with the final letter Z!

See you tomorrow!
Mars xx

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

X is for X Ray

Well I had to find a way to introduce you to this chap, Skeleton Spirit, one of my favourite silver beads!

Being Addicted to Beads I've managed to acquire several more of these, but this is my original, he's called Lenny and is always recognisable due to his slightly inclined head!

As you can guess this is a bit of a cheat, but I think Skeleton Spirit is the X Ray version of another of my beads, Spirit of Freedom!

What do you like so much that you couldn't bear to leave it out of an A to Z list?

Monday, 27 April 2015

W is for Wrist Shots

Part of the fun of meeting up with fellow bead addicts is looking at all the beads to see what bracelets people have made.

As a jewellery blogger I take lots of solo wrist shots (oo-er that sounds a bit rude) but group wrist shots are a "thing" within the world of bead addicts... and as my theme is Addicted to Beads it seemed only right to show you a few!

Here are some of my favourites...

Taken in May & June 2013 at a Troll Meet in Yorkshire

Photo taken as part of the Trollbeads on my Travels series

People's Bead 2014 Postcard Shot - taken as part of the 2014 April A to Z Challenge last year

My most recent wrist shot - last month at Trollbeads Newport aka Jeffries Jewellers!

I am not alone in my addiction as you can see... my question to you today is:

Have you got any unusual photograph rituals - or is it just us bead addicts?

Saturday, 25 April 2015

V is for Velociraptor

Last year in the A to Z I did V is for Vernier Scale, as I was desperately avoiding the obvious... it was my least popular post of the challenge!

This year I had resigned myself to cover Valentines as there are plenty of beads to show you for this.

I've already shown you one in L is for Love Hurts which was a fabulous Valentine's Release by Ohm Beads, there's my RAF Benevolent Fund bead (shown above) which is very dear to my heart, another Valentine's Day Release, this time by Trollbeads, and bought in memory of my Father-in-Law who'd passed away the year before.

However, late one night as I was going to bed last week I got hit with an obvious stick, repeatedly... I actually have the MOST AWESOME V bead which hadn't occurred to me until now.

Velociraptor from Ohm Beads Rawr Collection.  You can read all about my Dinosaur beads in detail here and how I swapped my car for them - but for today, V is most definitely for Velociraptor!

Phew, saved by Dinosaurs!!

P.S. I still don't have a Vernier Calliper!!

I seem to struggle with V... any suggestions for next year?

Friday, 24 April 2015

U is for Unblogged Beads

Being Addicted to Beads (my A to Z theme in case you've only just joined in) means I acquire beads at a rate quicker than I can blog them.

Originally my blog was a fairly chronological account of my bead acquisition, up until the Summer of 2013 when I broke the format as bead buying overtook bead blogging!

These are two beads from my Unblogged Bead List that I keep on my desktop as a Sticky Note.

Yes, yes, the list is way longer than these few beads, it's not hit triple figures but it's almost halfway there ;)  In my defence this list has been building up since Summer 2013!

Bead no.1 is a unique bead I picked up back in September last year in a closing down sale, I love the pattern and the colour on this bead - it can look very unassuming from one side (top  photo) perhaps a simple stripe bead, but when viewed from a different angle you can see the lovely concentric layers of purple glass encased in clear.

Often a bead becomes an Unblogged Bead for so long because I buy a few beads at once - see M is for Money for why this is a good plan. 

If I don't have an immediate use for it, it can sometimes be a while before it gets used, and even longer before I blog about it!

Bead no.2 is another such bead, the 2nd from left in the photo above - it's a very pretty bead, very blue and glittery - again from a liquidation sale.

I picked up it's three friends around the same time but I had projects in mind for those; so the sweet blue glittery one got left behind!  

What, if anything, do you buy well in advance before it gets used and why?

Thursday, 23 April 2015

T is for Turtle

Trollbeads (a brand of beadmaker) have made glass, silver and amber Turtle beads.  I think they must really like Turtles!

The pic below is of the Trollbeads silver turtle bead that was bought for me by my friend Alison as a surprise present, I treasure this bead!

The carved amber turtle bead was part of a limited release of carved amber beads and I was lucky enough to snap one up when I found it.

Can you make out the carved Turtle on the middle bead of the bangle?

However my favourite glass Turtle bead is not the Trollbeads version but one made by an artisan beadmaker - Christa from Luccicare.

When you're Addicted to Beads, it's fun to look at ALL the different beadmakers and not just the big brands.

Which of the turtle beads is your favourite?
and / or
If you were going to name a Turtle, what would you call him or her?

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

S is for Swamp

Elfbeads (a brand of beadmaker) name their glass by Colour (sometimes this includes an additional type) followed by Design

Swamp is the name of a colourway given to certain Elfbeads, I have 4 beads in this range, it's a beautifully layered set of colours and one of my favourites.

In these photos, the beads are Swamp Universe, Swamp Universe Fractal x2, Swamp Dewdrops.

This is my final choice for S; I really struggled to keep it to just one as there were so many S topics I wanted to show you in my Addicted to Beads theme!

A to Zers - have you struggled with narrowing down your choice for any letters?
Bead Addicts - what do you think to Swamp as a colourway?
Feel free to answer both!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

R is for Red

Red, I've heard, can be quite a hard colour to get right when working glass, I love true red beads!

These are most of the true red beads I have from Trollbeads (a bead brand).

Beads 1&2 and 6&7 are what we call production beads (that you can buy all year round) and like many a bead addict I have multiples of these. Well my theme is Addicted to Beads, what else would a bead addict do?!

The 3 beads in the middle are uniques; they're not strictly unique as you can probably find others like them but they are not made in big numbers or to a set pattern so are not production beads that form part of the permanent collection.

In my own experiments in glass I've yet to pluck up the courage to buy any red transparent glass but I do wish to master red one day... probably once I've learnt how to make a neat, non-wonky bead!!

What advanced skill would you love to learn once you've mastered the basics?

Monday, 20 April 2015

Q is for Quitting

It would be wrong in an Addicted to Beads theme to ignore the topic of Quitting.

I've skirted around the issue in several posts already; we've talked Harm Reduction, Cold Turkey and all about my Dealers and the Addiction itself at the start of the A to Z Challenge.

I wasn't always addicted to beads, it came to me quite late in life given I have always had a love of jewellery.  I was introduced to beads by my friend Emz, and the story of how she got started is here. <--- It's one post by the way and a beautiful story told by Emz in her own words if you fancy a read.

How my addiction developed on the other hand, well, that's actually the whole story of my blog!

Whilst I might be trying to slow down and spend less on beads each year, I don't think I could quit completely, I mean look at some of the bracelets I've made... who would want to give that up?!

What do you contemplate quitting, but secretly hope it will never happen?!
What would you actually like to quit?

Saturday, 18 April 2015

P is for Paraphernalia

Being Addicted to Beads leads to a build up of bead paraphernalia.

I'm talking cloth bags, boxes, paper bags, plastic baggies, catalogues, ribbons, bookmarks, keyrings, sweets (no I'm joking these all get eaten - usually before the bead is even unpacked), padded envelopes, polishing cloths, bubble wrap, booklets, tissue paper and the list just goes on... if you can use something for marketing it's probably been used by a bead company.

Some of this paraphernalia is useful, especially the polishing cloths!  I use my keyrings as they have detachable plastic coins you can use for shopping trolleys and gym lockers and bookmarks get used, in er, books,

I've been known to recycle the baggies, cloth bags and ribbons when sending beads to friends to make the package look prettier.  I actually love the sense of ritual in getting a nice bead in the post or from the shop... but I've also been known to fly out the shop in a rush just clutching the actual bead.

I won't show you the full range of what I have... as despite trying to cut down on it, the sheer amount of it is a bit like counting your beads... I don't do it!

What kinds of paraphernalia do you have in your house?
Or are you clutter free?!

Friday, 17 April 2015

O is for Orange

Orange beads, believe it or not, are a colour of bead I used to love to hate.  So in my Addicted to Beads theme orange is something that previously NEVER would have been mentioned, let alone featured.

I'm not sure when the change to love to love happened, I'd always had one orange bead, 6th from right called Pumpkin as I'd bought that quite early on... but it remained my only orange bead for several years.

I think the main shift in my thinking came about when the two types of orange glass faceted beads, (L-R) No's  4,6,10 & 13 were released as part of a Fall Collection, I adored them!

Then followed No.11 an orange flower bead on an almost tie-dyed background... then the Carnelian stone faceted beads, No.3 & 12 and so it continued.

I use the orange beads quite a lot, in fact I had to dismantle one of my favourite bracelets to photograph several of these!

I love this mix of orange with black, green and grey, a great mix of glass, silver and stones.

Have you had any Love to Hate moments/things/themes turn into Love to Love ones?

Thursday, 16 April 2015

N is for Navy Galaxy

Regular readers - Was there any other N I could choose given my theme of Addicted to Beads?

For my lovely A to Z visitors - Trollbeads (a beadmaker brand) from time to time will release certain beads that are made in small numbers and appear for collectors to buy without announcement.  So not an official limited edition release, just a style that some of their beadmakers have made that are available for a while.

Some of these become very sought after and super coveted and can change hands for silly money, way above the RRP.

When this style appeared, and there is no official name, but collectors termed these Navy Galaxies in the beginning, I was smitten!!

I spent 18 months collecting these up and I'm pleased to say that I didn't spend silly money - apparently patience is a virtue after all!

What have you waited patiently for that was worth the wait?