Monday 28 September 2015

Glitter & Leaf, Sparkle & Earth, Troll & Elf Beads

I buy very few full kits of beads by any brand, but there are always a few exceptions, Rocky Beach Kit by Trollbeads was one of my first and the silver half of OHM's Rawr Collection is one of my most spectacular, but today I'm looking at 2 different glass kits from Trollbeads and Elfbeads.

The Sparkle Kit from Trollbeads was released as part of the Spring 2014 Collection, and whilst I've used the beads individually I always wanted to do something "more" with them.

Trollbeads Sparkle Kit - Spring Collection 2014

Another set of beads, which aren't actually a kit as such, but which I do have all the variations are the Earth Beads from Elfbeads, I've always thought they would play well with the Sparkle Kit but I've never been able to manage anything I wanted to blog about before.

Elfbeads Earth Beads Set

I started off making a bracelet with lots of Dragon Beads, but whilst it was fun - it didn't quite do it for me, so  I set that one aside and took away all the dragon beads.  I still wanted to try and do something with the two kits, so undeterred, I had another go!

Chinese Silvers 2009 with Sparkle & Earth Beads

All I did was add a different set of silvers and tweak the colour mix... this brings a completely different vibe to my Chinese Silvers Bracelet, it's much softer than the turquoise agates I'd been using previously and I really like the mix of gold glitter and leaf with the silver beads.

What do you think?

Monday 21 September 2015

Trollbeads New Collectors Case

It's no secret that I have a rather unhealthy addiction to beads and I'm forever trying to find a storage solution that will keep my beads in one place, or as near to one place as I can manage as my collection grows.

Enter the newest contender for that top spot - the much anticipated Collectors Case from Trollbeads.

The new box is about one and a half times the size of the old White Collectors Case that many Trollbeads fans might have.  If you remember I did some interesting mods to my old case in order to get some more rod storage - as this is how I like to store, look and find beads when I'm making up my bracelets.

You can imagine then, that for me a big selling point was the 8 super long rods in the new case; also the price, it was £99 including postage... which is only £25 more than I paid for my white case, and several hundreds of pounds less than the Ultimate Collectors Case!

New Collectors Box Vs White Collectors Box

Now I know most people will be thinking that is a lot for a jewellery box and it is... but there's surprisingly little available on the market for people with bigger collections.

Price wise, as it wasn't that much more than the white box, for a whole load more box, I wasn't expecting the same build quality as the white one, to judge Troll by Troll's own standards.  To some extent, this was sadly the case (excuse the pun), so let's get the bad bits out of the way so I can concentrate on the awesome bits!

The build quality is not quite to the same standard as the white box...
But, given it was only £25 more for a bigger case I wasn't expecting it to be.

Parts of the wrap on the outside of the case are already a little worn looking and the rod ends have that slightly unfinished feel to them by being a little bit rough at the very ends.  Finally, I'm not convinced how well the foam side inserts will weather over time, but I do intend to be very careful with all of these issues, and to get some sandpaper to those rods!

Having just said all that - I do think this box is awesome!

To start with it's all about packing a HUGE amount of beads into the smallest space possible whilst still being able to SEE them!  Something that a lot of other storage cases don't always deliver, and I think I actually might prefer this way of storage to the Ultimate Collectors Case.

Look how much bead space you get in a compact area!

What you actually get for your £99 is 8 lovely long bead rods in the lid, with a top plain layer of flat velvet on the other side to protect everything.  Underneath that is the next pull out layer, 6 large compartments which in turn sits on the very bottom of the box - 10 smaller compartments up the sides and 6 single long compartments ideal for full bracelets and 2 double sized compartments that can fit 2 or 3 bracelets depending on style.

I wasted no time in trying to fill it!

Trollbeads New Collectors Case - 1st play!
L-R: Lid rod storage, Top 6 compartments, Bottom Layer

This was my first attempt and I'm sure I'm going to change this as I go along, especially as I didn't quite manage to get everything in the one box.

I did get all my Trollbeads in, both regular and X Jewellery but I still have some stray beads in another box, and sadly my bangles don't fit in when I have beads on them as I tend to wear quite chunky beads which are too wide for the narrow depth of the top layer.

Another point to note is that the rods don't come complete with rubber o-rings (the bits you use to stop beads sliding off) so I transferred all my extra o-rings from my white box skewer mods across to each end the new rods.  I'm also going to order some more and put an extra one in the centre of each rod; so I can remove beads from either side of the rod whilst not holding on to the full load of sliding beads, far more manageable!

I LOVE seeing my beads and bracelets like this, and for me, this is why this case is so awesome!

The flat velvet protection top can also double up as play tray later on - although it's flat, when it's sat on the bottom most layer as the box (with the middle layer removed), the box sides then act as the "lip" to stop your beads rolling off.

Beadplay on the flat velvet (Trollbeads & Elfbeads)

Very useful for bead play and makes a nice backdrop for taking photos.  Er, so expect to see more photos with a black backdrop in the future I guess!

What do you think to the new case?
Tempted, or would you rather keep your pennies for beads?

Friday 18 September 2015

A Delirious Ramble and a Budget Blown

Just so we are clear; let me start by saying how thoroughly fed up I am.  I've just dragged my arse into the shower to try and freshen up from the most malingering bug/virus I've had since October 2009...

Somewhere in Wales - from my sick bed

Obviously I wasn't writing a blog in October 2009 or I might have told you about it at the time in between hacking up my lungs and wondering if there was enough oil in the tank to last the week.  If I had been writing a blog back then, this is the photo I would have shown you, taken from my sick bed during the year we spent living in the middle of nowhere, it was great - the place not the bug.  At least now I can drag myself a few yards to the corner shop to stock up on more meds; back then it was a 6 mile drive to the nearest corner shop!

What does this have to do with beads, or a blown budget you might be wondering?  Will she get to the point?  Almost there... bear with me!

Festival Nights

Today I should have been on my way in my little bus to a festival, one that I've been looking forward to since I didn't go to it this time last year - ticket bought back in December, and the fact it coincided with a certain significant birthday (the bus's not mine) was all the more sweet.  Making time to catch up with old friends, make new ones and just chill out in what has been a busy year so far.

So I've been chilling out, but not in the way I imagined, I'm literally chilling out, then boiling out and then repeat.

So beads & budgets, where am I going with this?  I'm not sure, other than having been able to sell my festival ticket at the last minute (I was hanging on with grim determination in the hope I would be better) I had some unexpected funds in the bank.  Add this to the rather large amount of diesel I now don't have to put into the bus, along with some spending money I won't be spending and a large amount of time where all I can muster the energy to do is look at the Internet... and guess which Rabbit Hole I fell down?

Photo by Samantha Marx

Yep the bead one!

It all started innocently enough with OHM's Bead of the Month announcement for October.

For those of you on planet Earth who haven't cottoned on yet, the wonderfully creative and quirky OHM team have been releasing Limited Edition Bead of the Month beads for a few months now...

OHM beads - Bead of the Month - August 2015 - Black Sheep

I have one already, have coveted a few more, and have just bought my second, the very wonderful Deadhead - a cross between a pumpkin and a Day of the Dead Sugar Skull, my kind of bead!

Of course once that was in my virtual shopping cart... I suddenly realised that if I was putting in an order, I might as well have a browse to see what else I fancied as I was shopping with one of the retailers who stock lots of my favourite brands... 2 locks and 2 more silver beads from Redbalifrog and some rubber X Jewellery links later (and some deleted Bali Clicks items where I'd gone a bit overboard and seriously overspent the overspend) and I was done.

Now to sit back and wait for the pitter patter of tiny packages hitting the mat... although sadly, despite my love of jewellery, I really wish I was hearing the pitter patter of tiny raindrops on my bus windows instead.

Come join in with the misery...
What have you looked forward to for ages, only for it not to happen?

Friday 11 September 2015

What's on my Wrist?

If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen this one yesterday!

I dusted off my Thomas Sabo Karma bracelet, or more accurately the jewellery box it was in, and paired it with my new Pandora rings from my shopping trip last month!

I rarely blog Instagram photos just by themselves, as that's what Instagram is for... but I think this one deserved an entry of it's own!

What do you think?

Monday 7 September 2015

Born in 1976, I retired 15 years ago. What am I?

It was fairly quiet on the bead front; my bead budget has been earmarked for a specific project -  so whilst I've been enjoying the bead pics of others, I've not been getting too excited despite all the new collections launching right now.

Then a fairly innocuous announcement was made on the Trollbeads Facebook page on Wednesday: 
Are you a Trollbeads collector? We have chosen a selection of our best sellers, limited edition and favourite retired beads which you need to have in your collection! Is there a particular bead you've always wanted? 
Shop our 'Collectors' favourites today:
I went to have a quick look but I was on my phone, so having seen a few regular beads, I thought nothing more of it.  This is why you should always look at EVERYTHING no matter how trivial it seems.

Several hours later and I was alerted to rumours of Quatre... went to check, and yes indeed there it was, innocently nestled on the 3rd row down, for sale, Quatre!!

Cue some running around shrieking and a desperate scrabble for my laptop as despite stabbing at my phone repeatedly (which is usually good for online shopping) it was refusing to put the damn bead in my cart.

Non-Trollbeads fans at this point will be wondering what all the shrieking was for?  Well Quatre was one of the original beads in the collection (1976 original) and designed by Soren Nielson. According to the Museum, it was officially retired in 2000, 15 years ago, and has become one of the sought after oldies, often changing hands for quite a bit of cash.

So to find one at all was very exciting, to have it for sale from an official source was doubly so, and for it to be on sale for a normal amount of money was oh my god, running round the house like a lunatic exciting...

I placed my order, and then agonised (along with many other collectors) for 24 hours wondering whether it would all be a horrible mistake, as the rumours had swept the globe (quite literally) with many people reporting that they'd also ordered.  I, myself, had put in two further orders for friends who were having trouble with the website.

Another 24 hours later, and it was confirmed that my original order went through, but sadly for my friends my other two orders did not, as unsurprisingly they were sold out.

Less than 48 hours after the confirmation came through, the postman knocked (twice), once for each bead I like to think!

What was all the fuss over?  Just two little beads, two perfect little beads!

What has been your run round the house shrieking moment?
(or is that just me??)