Monday 28 December 2015

2015 New Years Bead Resolutions in Review

Although I've been stupidly super busy, I have a few days off ahead of me and a determination to get around to reviewing my New Years Bead Resolutions for 2015, there are only two... how hard can it be?

My New Year's Bead Resolutions 2015
  • To book myself another Lampworking Lesson - At the start of this year it had been 18 months since my first (and only) lesson.  I wasn't going to set myself any more than a "1 session resolution" as I wanted to see if I wanted to continue any further before committing myself.  I also needed to check out if my shoulder would physically let my right arm be in a position to hold a glass rod.
  • To spend less in 2015 than I did in 2014 - At the start of the year I wanted to reduce my jewellery spending in general.  I knew my bus would take up a large proportion of my income, and I didn't set any complicated way of doing this other than it being less overall.
I did a review in July at the mid-point and I was well on track with both resolutions - so what happened in the latter part of this year?

To book myself another Lampworking Lesson
Considering it was as simple as booking myself another session I was well under way by July, I was renting bench space in a fab jewellery workshop and even had some of my own basic kit and glass stock.

I'm still not sure I can believe how much difference another 6 months has actually made...

Bird's Eye View of my home "Studio Space" from August 2015

Six months later... and I have my own studio space set up at home, my own kit and even my own kiln.  I guess I did like lampworking after all!

I could write an entire blog post on any aspect of my lampworking and in the New Year I will keep my promise and tell you all a bit more about it - each month I learn something new and there is another tale to tell!

This month I have been busy learning how to core my beads with a one piece silver lining.

One of my beads cored with 1 piece silver bead lining

This week I'm trying out my very first glass fuse... or "bad coaster project" as I have named it.  As usual I've just jumped in; so I am expecting a coaster with very bad bubbles in; having read the appropriate chapter after I started firing it!

To spend less in 2015 than I did in 2014 
At the halfway point this year I was doing very well on this goal, although I did hint that it may get a little less controlled in the months that were to follow...

Alex Cramariuc - Elements Silver Bead Collection

My first slip was the gorgeous Elements Set from Alex Cramariuc, an absolutely beautiful set of heavy silvers that marked the start of my spending spree.  Half of which I've not even told you all about yet.  In fairness, I must point out that my Halloween splurge was actually diverted holiday funds after my mega virus, but it all still needed counting up for the final tally.

In the second half of the year I did spend more than the same period in 2014.  However due to my exceptionally good start to 2015, where I was considerably more constrained, I did actually finish the year by spending less than in 2014! I didn't even scrape it; it was by a wide margin, which, er, probably just highlights why I needed to cut back a bit...

So what's the plan for 2016?
I don't really have one for now, I shall try and finish the year by not buying any more jewellery and spend more time on making some - that sounds like a good enough plan to follow for the next few days... I might just manage it!

Did you set yourself any goals for this year?  What happened?
Will you plan for 2016?

Saturday 12 December 2015

My Crazy Life... All the B's!

Life on in with Mars can always be a little chaotic but these last few months have been more so than usual...

Being a Secret Santa
This week I've been a Secret Santa - well once I found a pineapple (it's a cocktail thing) and as my partner lived nearby I turned up in person complete with a Santa Hat with bells on, well once I'd found out where she'd moved to... I did say it was chaotic didn't I?  So glad she was in; I could never have got that pineapple through the letterbox!

My Secret Santa lives in France, and after a chaotic week at work (hunting pineapples in strange cities before meetings), it was just the best thing to sit down and open a whole host of very carefully selected goodies - my partner knows me so well!

I am in love with how France Italy* packs it's Trollbeads, it was the most beautiful packaging and such a lovely gift unwrapping experience...

Italy just has the coolest Trollbeads packaging...

Lucky spoilt me received the recent glass Halloween Bead - Trick or Treat, and the new Love Dragon which is clutching a little heart.  I love asymmetric beads, so the dragon has found a very happy home here with me and I can't wait to incorporate the glass onto a bracelet for next year.

*although my Secret Santa lives in France, she shared with me that she bought my beads in Italy and it's their fabulous packaging; so my apologies to the Italian retailers... it's your packaging that ROCKS!!

Bead Buying Bonanza
I've been very naughty with my bead buying, I think I lost sight of my budget at the back end of the Summer - I've actually forgotten what I've told you all about and what I haven't!

There was a glut of artisan beads, both glass and silver, from some of my favourite designers and some newly discovered artists too.  Brand wise there's been Elfbeads, X Jewellery, Story, the fabulous new Black Friday beads from Trollbeads (Midnight Brilliance) and quite a few preloved Trollbeads stones and the odd chain thrown in for good measure.

Some of the new beads that have made it onto a bangle!

The downside to all of the chaos is that I've had very little time for bead play, so I have a ridiculous amount of lovelies just sat waiting to be made into bracelets and put onto bangles.  Apparently it's not just me as I have a few friends who are in the same position - although I am partly to blame in one case...

Bead Making Bonanza
...because I've been making too many beads that have found their way into her hands.

I'm really enjoying playing with glass; currently I'm learning how to finish my beads by manually lining them with silver tubing in one solid core, rather than gluing in two end caps.  

I can be a bit shy with showing my beads, but I really love the photo I took of this bead using a new bit of photography kit - here it is before I put the silver core in...

I think I actually held my breath when I cored this one, as it was one of my favourites out of the last big batch of beads I made.  Erm, I must confess I've lost a few beads along the way whilst I'm practising.

I'm away with work and quite busy in general at the moment, so poor old Curling Stones for Lego People is having to take a bit of a backseat at the moment.  So please know it's not a lack of interest on my part, as I love writing and chatting with you all - it's just that my daily life is getting a little too chaotic to keep to a regular writing schedule at the moment... but there will always be something to read at least once a month!  Even if that is how busy I am!

Would you like to know more about my journey with making beads?