EJR Beads Archive - Spring 2008
How was Spring 2008 for you? For me it was very.....
Studio Update: Wednesday 30th April
The weather is so crazy at the moment. True April showers, it is bucketing it down one minute and glorious sunshine the next.
Last weekend we had a lovely hot day on Saturday. I went walking in the morning and did some more mountain biking in the afternoon. Apart from being absolutely KNACKERED I was brown as a berry too by the evening. I'm surprised after last Summer my skin even remembers what sun is, let alone that it is supposed to go brown in it.
Of course it didn't last did it. Yesterday I had my first golf lesson of the year. It was chucking it down. Thank god the golf course has a covered driving range, that is all I can say. And it was freezing.
The golf might make me sound posh and rich, but don't be fooled. I am doing a course of lessons through the local adult education centre. They are absolutely brilliant, I have done some of the golf courses with them before. You get excellent tuition at one of the local golf courses by their pro's and the course is cheap as chips. I am a big fan of the local adult education - it is where I learned stained glass, ceramics work and more. Why don't you see if your local area runs classes and sign up for something? I did once sign up for Tai Chi too, but it wasn't for me. I just felt like I was playing a long, pointless game of Simon Says. Oh and I started the RHS Gardening course once, but the teacher was weird so I baled on that one too ;-)
Meanwhile, have the tales of my active week made you just want to flop in a chair and read a good magazine? Of course they have, of course you do.
What better read could you reach for than Ornament magazine? We have the new issue in stock now and it's a corker. I defy anyone with even the slighted sense of style to not ooh and ah over pretty much everything in this magazine. For us bead freaks, there is a great article on jewellery and beads from the Classical world too!
And as you can see, the new issue of Jewelry Artist is now in stock too. You can find both titles in the Books & Magazines section of the online store. Beware though, I only have limited copies of both these issues so order sooner rather than later because once they is gone, they is gone.
Studio Update: Wednesday 23rd April
There'll be new beads over, the white cliffs of Dover.....
Except the new beads will be over at the EJR Beads Online Store instead. I mean what would the point be in having new beads over the cliffs at Dover? They would just fall down into the sea. Or get eaten mid-fall by a seagull, which would be bad for both gull and bead.
Nope. We will stick 'em in the store I think. A far better plan. They should be up sometime this afternoon or this evening.
Want a sneaky preview while you wait? How about these monsters? I broke some lampworking rules with this one. I didn't only allow my turquoise to reduce, I positively encouraged it. Bwah ha ha - I couldn't help it m'lud, that blood red was just too cool for school.
Studio Update: Saturday 19th April
The Euro-Whiff is here. When I stick my head out of the window, all I can smell is a horrible, overpowering rotten sewer smell - nice!
It is wet and raining, so I am not going walking today anyway. Even if I were though, I think the smell would put me off. I hope they work out soon what this pong is and dump a a bag of pot pourri the size of holland on whatever or wherever the source is. Yuck. And I don't even have a good sense of smell.
Not only is it smelly, but I ache too. I have bike bum ladies and gents. Yup - went moutain biking for the first time this year on Thursday and I am still walking like John Wayne. I could hardly move when I got off the thing. For some reason the dog enjoys racing me upstairs. Usually I win (although I think she lets me because she is a good girl and knows who is alpha dog in this pack.) On thursday she won paws down since I just fell flat on my face even trying to crawl up the stairs!
Meanwhile I think I will cheer us all up with another giveaway. This set of beads are just experiments. Not the greatest beads in the world - I was more concerned with trying out a couple of ideas than making them look too lovely! Not the worst either though - so maybe you would like to home them anyway? They have real gold on them!
If you fancy winning these beads, just email me your full name and postal address, putting "gold beads" in the subject line. I will pick a winner next weekend on the 26th.
Meanwhile I should have some new lampwork beads up for sale in the next few days. Sorry about the wait.
Studio Update: Wednesday 16th April
My auction ends very soon! So don't forget to get your bid in - it is not good emailing me after the auction ends to say you forgot to bid on them! Once they are gone, they are gone. And they have reached their reserve price now - so whatever the final price is, that is what they go for!
All my eBay listings are private - so only you and I know you are bidding.
Meanwhile, as you can see - the new issue of Art Jewelry magazine is now in stock.
In this issue, use your Makin's polymer clay extruder to create features for a fantastic copper and clay pendant, exploring colour theory. Create fantastic origami charms using Art Clay silver. Learn to make and solder your own bezels or why not try ornate wirework without pliers?
This really is a must-have issue IMO.
If you prefer your metal to be a little more long and wiggly, well why not pick up a copy of Wire Jewelry?
Studio Update: Friday 11th April
I have a new auction listed on ebay.co.uk !
The set is called Rockingham and I don't mind admitting I am totally in love with it. I just love the colours, the pattern - everything.
The set evolved from a lone barrel bead which I kept for myself. I just had to make more beads in these colours though, so created a set too.
The auction has a 99p start price, but does have a reserve this time. Since I really only want to part with these beads for a half-decent sum. That said, the reserve is lower than I would list them in my online store for though, so it is still worth getting your bid in on these beauties!
Click here to see the auction, or just search out my seller id ejralph over on ebay.
Studio Update: Thursday 10th April
No, I am not a snake getting new skin. I mean, I have been busy out in the shed the last couple of days making lots of lovely lampwork beads. Sorry, they are not up yet - but soon I promise.
Well I say lovely. Some are lovely, some are just pants and will never see the light of day - you know how it goes with creative things - lots of those "what was I thinking?" moments. But I do believe that one is one of the nicest sets ever to walk out of that there shed. I just love the colour combo I used. Sadly this was mainly due to a lone rod of some obscure brown colour I found on my shelf. Oh it was great that I used it - it made such cool colour reactions. Just sad that it is now all used up and I have no chance of getting anymore of that particular batch. Talk about you don't know what ya got til its gone. I had no idea that rod was so cool.
I have also been working on a spot of jewellery - just to keep my hand in. And some polymer clay beads too. So hopefully by next week (if not sooner) the shelves will be restocked at EJR Beads and there will be plenty of new goodies to look at!
Meanwhile, you might want to know that the latest issue of Beads and Beyond mag is in stock - and it has an advanced lampworking tute in it by Bev Hinklin!
Studio Update: Sunday 6th April
Long time no see!
Hello everyone. It seems like ages since I updated this page, and yet here we are again with SNOW!
I didn't even bother taking a picture - I mean, just scroll down and look at the previous snowy scene and imagine it even snowier. What is all the more bizarre is that on Friday it was so hot I was walking the dogs in a t-shirt.
And whilst we are on the subject of craziness. What CHUMP decided to suddenly put gluten into M&S cola drink and not tell anyone? Thanks a bunch - another weekend wasted. Grrrr
As you can see, the mood at EJR Towers is as frosty as the weather. Thankfully though there is an antidote. What better way to shake me out of my moans and groans than to do something nice?
The lovely people at Quick and Crafty magazine have given me some free copies to give away to you lovely people. The issue up for grabs is the April 2008 issue. It is their beading special and comes with a free cutting mat (odd choice of gift for a beading special if you ask me, but since no-one did I will shut up)
If you want to be in with a chance of blagging yourself a free copy of this great crafting magazine, just email me. First come, first served until they run out.
Studio Update: Monday 24th March
Happy Easter everyone - I mean that retrospectively of course, since it is all pretty much over now.
I certainly haven't got any chocolate left, put it that way. To my mind Easter ends as soon as the last mouthful of choccy is chomped down on.
As for Spring? Well - humf! Snow showers on and off throughout the weekend here, as you can see.
It is just as well I didn't want to go out in the shed and make beads really, isn't it.
I do have some new lampwork beads ready to list in the online store. I will hopefully do this tomorrow, although I am just starting to get the cold that made Mr Man so ill over the weekend. So if that comes on with a vengeance, I am likely to just put myself to bed with a big dollop of self-pity and leave the beads for a couple of days.
I will give you a sneaky preview of one of the bead sets though. Just to whet your appetite, so to speak!
This is a lovely set of Flamenco tabs, in washes of dark ripe peach and plum. I wish I could have made the colours show up better in the photo though.
Studio Update: Wednesday 19th March
So much to tell you today and I promised myself I would do just that and get this update done before I eat my next caramel shortcake. Well, I needed to make sure my prize was worth reaching for, didn't I?
First there are some new polymer clay beads due up in the online store any moment now. Here are some of my citrus Clarice beads, but there is also a fun set of Slight Seconds up for a bargain price!
This issue is quite simply breathtaking. The first thing you will see are pages and pages Kathleen Dustin's beautiful work. Well worth the cover price alone just to see her beautiful polymer purses and beads up close and in detail. Yes that beautiful flower on the cover is polymer and a perfect example of Kathleen's talents.
There are plenty of other great projects and articles too, exploring sculpting and modelling, canework and jewellery ideas. This magazine really does seem to be getting better and better each issue!
Now don't you think it was time I gave away some beads? Yup me too. How do you fancy getting your hands on this set of my lampwork beads? A lovely set of leaf beads, worked in soft powder blue.
If you want to be in with a chance of winning these beads you need to do TWO things:
1. You must be subscribed to my email newsletter to enter this giveaway.
If you are not already signed up, please check my FAQ page for details on how to join. I cannot sign you up to the mailing list. You have to register yourself by setting up an account at the EJR Beads online store and opting in for the email newsletter.
If you already have an account at EJR Beads, you can log into your account and check your email notification settings using your "my account" page. You can also use this page to unsubscribe yourself from the list whenever you want (but you need to still be on the list on the closing date of the giveaway to be eligible)
2. You need to email me, putting "freebies" in the subject line of your email. Please include your full name in the body of your email.
That's it! All eligible entries will be put in a hat and a winner picked at random after the closing date, March 26th.
Studio Update: Saturday 15th March
Hurrah it's the weekend! Once I have the orders packed up and posted, I am taking the rest of the day off to laze around. I really need a day of just sitting on my bum doing nothing.
I have had a busy old week here at EJR Towers. I spent most of the last two days in the shed melting glass. So there should be some new lampwork beads to show you next week. I was also working on polymer clay beads earlier in the week too. Some are so citrus-ey, my mouth is still watering several days later!
Meanwhile, I just remembered I forgot to mention about these clever things. Anti-Tarnish tabs.
They don't look much do they? But pop one of these tabs into the box or bag with your metal jewellery and beads and you can prevent tarnish for up to a year.
Useful huh? You can use these tabs for all ferrous and non-ferrous metals. So that means Silver, copper, brass etc. Use them to protect your finished jewellery and Art Clay Silver creations or just to keep your beads and findings looking fresh.
Studio Update: Thursday 13th March
Can you imagine walking down the road at 6 o'clock in the morning, stopping every couple of houses and smashing glass bottles as loudly as you can. Shouting bizarre obscenities to your mates as you go?
Can you then imagine that you get PAID to do this and the very people paying you are those poor sods who were (until you arrived) asleep in those houses?
Has the world gone MAD to paraphrase the Daily Mail?
No. It is just the council recycling van doing the rounds. This is what our taxes are spent on? Waking me up at some horrendous hour?
I am all for saving the planet, really I am. But could we not do it say, after 9 am? Could the planet possibly last another few hours just so I can have my kip?
Yes, lack of sleep made me a bit grumpy this morning. Still, that was all pushed aside when some new mags arrived. I have new issues in for the fantastic Stringing, the V&A magazine, Beads & Beyond and Step-by-Step Beads.
Studio Update: Sunday 2nd March
Do you sometimes wonder where on earth to get inspiration from?
It can be tough sometimes to think up new ideas. Everything feels too samey or you just get a blank? Why not take some tips from Jean Yates, author of Links?
Jean is one of my favourite jewellery designers. Not only because she uses a lot of my beads (although that helps obviously!) but mainly because I just really like her work. For Jean, each design is complete in its own right, with its own story.
Jean's fantastic book delves deep into this very subject - where to find inspiration and how to harness it and transform ideas into design. Go buy it, it is very fantastic. If you don't believe me just keep tuned to this page. I will soon have finished writing my review which will tell you in far greater detail just why it is so fantastic. Meanwhile, check out this article she wrote for the Soft Flex people about taking inspiration from the animal kingdom. Very thought-provoking ideas - thanks Jean!
Maybe though you have plenty of inspiration already? Maybe you just need some lovely polymer clay beads to use in all those designs whirring around in your head?
If so, you will be thrilled to hear I have some new beads ready to list. They will be listed in the online store tomorrow sometime so just keep an eye out. Here is a sneaky preview of one of the sets!
Studio Update: Tuesday 26th February
My eBay auction is now up and running. So don't delay, bid today!
(Yes, I am no great loss to the advertising copy-writing world really am I?)
Click here to see the auction or just search me out on eBay using my name or my seller id ejralph . The auction runs for 5 days.
Studio Update: Monday 25th February
On your marks!
How's about that then for all your bead lovers out there? Just the kind of beady news you need to banish the Monday blues!
The beads shown right are a sneaky preview of my new auction. As usual they will be listed with a crazy 99p starting price and no reserve. The auction will start tomorrow ( 26th) at around 11.30 am GMT and run for 5 days. So please don't forget to get your bid in once it starts, or someone else might get them for a snip!
If auctions are not your thing, well why not try your luck over at my online store? I will be listing several new sets of lampwork beads up there this afternoon and this evening. Some are seconds too - beads with slight flaws and great savings!
Just visit the EJR Beads online store to see the latest!
Studio Update: Friday 22nd February
Yup, find your reading glasses and head on over to the EJR Beads Online store.
We have some fantastic new reads in stock in the books and magazines category.
Firstly the new issue of Art Jewelry is in stock. It features some great articles. My favourite is the cover project. A wonderful pod pendant from renowned polymer clay artist Jeffrey Lloyd Denver.
Even if you have never tried polymer clay before, you are bound to get great results with this project. It just goes to show that good design doesn't always have to be technically impossible or require oodles of tools and supplies. It is amazing what you can do with the odd block of Fimo, plastic coated wire and a tissue blade!
Also in stock is the latest and indeed the last issue of Jewelry Crafts.
I am so sad to report that Jewelry Crafts will no longer be published bi-monthly. Instead the publishers will only be putting out one issue a year from now on.
Jewelry Crafts was the first magazine of it's kind when it came out 15 years ago. The people at Miller Magazines retained that family-business feel throughout. But I guess when the other big-name bead magazines hit the shelves, over the years it must have got harder and harder for them to compete. Poor Jewelry Crafts. I will remember you fondly, you were the first magazine to publish me!
Anyway, it is a good farewell bash. This issue they are going out with a bang with some great polymer clay articles, precious metal clay articles and more. If you like polymer clay techniques, this is a great issue especially!
Studio Update: Tuesday 19th February
Isn't he a beauty?
We saw (and fed) lots of these beautiful Mandarin ducks on our trip out to Richmond Park the other day. Sorry for the rubbish photo. These chaps do NOT keep still for a moment. Especially on such a cold, cold day.
For those of you who don't know, Richmond Park is a very old stretch of parkland in South London.
Historically a famous hunting ground for various kings and queens, now it is mostly patrolled by London's population of joggers, yummy-mummies with expensive strollers and old folk with overweight Labradors. Oh and us on occasion (often mistaken for overweight Labradors)
The human inhabitants are not the interesting part of the story though.
Richmond is most famous for it's population of deer. Sadly there was a cull recently. These culls are necessary to keep their numbers in check, however they always leave a nasty taste in my mouth. I would just put half the lady deer on the pill or something. Or maybe a social education programme on the merits of "just saying no" ? Ok, possibly not. But I can't help feeling there must be an alternative to playing Elmer Fudd!
So most of the remaining deer were all huddled together in a big herd, rather in shock. Usually they are dotted about in small groups, looking most enchanting. I did find a few acting normally but they legged it before I could get a better photo. Something to do with a large Rhodesian Ridgeback giving chase!
It was blinking cold though. We managed a quick scoot to the duck pond, fed them all our bread and then had to get back into the car before we froze to death. Roll on Spring. Didn't I say we would get another cold snap? It always happens this way. Why do I fall for it?
Studio Update: Tuesday 12th February
Spring is definitely in the air!
I spent most of today out working in the shed melting glass. Spring is certainly on its way if you are to believe today's weather. The birds certainly think so, they have been flirting and cooing with each other all day in the Pear tree. Then you hear the occasional spat between rival males. Reminds me of school really ;-)
I still have to clean and photograph them and you know how long that seems to take me! This is not helped by the fact I am taking Valentines Day off to spend with Mr Man (well it is his birthday too). So I don't think I will have anything new lampwork-wise to show you before the end of the week I am afraid.
I do however have some other new beads up - a few sets of polymer clay beads for you to enjoy such as these Shabby Silks lentils.
Studio Update: Saturday 9th February
Spring is in the air!
What a lovely warm day today. It really feels as though Spring is finally in the air.
Mind you, sometimes our weather has a nasty habit of playing tricks on us. So I am not counting my chickens. We could have another cold snap yet. I do hope not.
At least we managed to get out birding the other day. Not much of a view yet, but still nice to get some fresh air. The dark blobs on those sand banks are actually birds believe it or not. I know, I know - it is one of those "guess you had to be there" moments. But we had fun. We are easily pleased. A cold, damp hide and blobby birds will do nicely for us as "recreation".
But this is meant to be Studio news, not cold-reservoir-somewhere-in-Kent news isn't it?
So what beady news? Well all the lampwork beads sold out very quickly again the other evening. Thank you all so much. You have no idea just how much I appreciate your continued support of my work.
If you missed out on the beads, don't forget there is still time to bid on my eBay auction.
The auction ends on Monday, so make sure you get your bid in soon if you fancy adopting this mega-set. Each auction I run, I get emails afterwards from people upset because they forgot to bid. So why not just let eBay take the strain and bid for you? Just enter your max amount as a proxy bid and sit back and relax - eBay will do the rest! All my auctions are private listings, so even if you are the high bidder no-one else (including bank managers or husbands) gets to see it is you bidding! Well, we girls like to have our little secrets right?
The auction beads are definitely one of my favourite sets of all time. If you like purples and blues, you will just love them. Mr Man wanted me to call them Purple Haze but I vetoed that idea from the off! I rarely make these Arthouse Prism beads. They are a design I love, I just don't tend to make them all that often. (Probably because they take a lot of concentration and I am so flighty!). I can tell you they make gorgeous jewellery though - check out Jean Yates' Necklace page to see a design featuring my Arthouse Prisms!
Studio Update: Thursday 7th February
New Beads, New Auction!
The auction is for a set of my Arthouse beads, in unusual triangular prism shapes. Very dotty beads that had me quite dotty by the end of making them! Included are 8 spacer beads.
As usual I have started the auction at a ridiculous 99p start! So don't forget to place your bids or someone might get them for a steal ;-)
Also new in the online store this week, the latest issue of PolymerCAFE magazine.
This fantastic publication is the only magazine in the world dedicated just to using oven-bake modelling clays such as Fimo.
So popular is this magazine that the publishers have increased its frequency from the previous 4 issues per year and it will now be published 6 times a year instead.
In this latest issue they are celebrating their new editor Connie Donaldson with a reprint of her very popular Butterfly Wing Cane project from the Spring 2004 issue (now out of print)
Studio Update: Friday 1st February
Want more free stuff?
Well, the competition to win the ugly lampwork beads was fun. So many of you wrote how you thought they were pretty! Ha, flattery will get you nowhere. Well, unless you are Irene from Edinburgh who won the draw. Congratulations Irene. Your beads will be with you shortly. Thank you to everyone else for taking part - and lots of you did!
But I reckon this giving away stuff free lark is a right good laugh. So I am gonna do some more of it.
Some of you may have noticed that I have a new postcard for sale in the online store. It's a pretty slew of antique trade beads. Making this card was a pure whim on my part, I got them printed simply because I adore them and that is that.
So, I have decided that I will give some away free this week. Any order of £20 value or above (excluding postage and packing) placed in the online store from 2nd to the 9th of Feb inclusive will get a pack of my Trade Bead postcards included absolutely free of charge. That is a pack of 8 cards, worth £3.50.
It is that easy. Just place your order as normal and if it qualifies I will include the cards. No messing about with coupon codes or anything like that. All you need to do is to decide what to buy!
What other fun news can I share? Well not much actually since it is Bro'sters birthday and I really need to get my butt to his celebratory dinner even though I won't be able to eat the Chinese food they are eating (poo!)
I can tell you that new lampwork beads will be around in the next few day and that if you cannot wait that long I have a new auction up over on eBay! So go and take a goosey gander there. Its at a silly 99p start and last time I looked there were still no bids!