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EJR Beads Archive - Summer 2008

How was Summer 2008 for you? Did you enjoy the lovely weather! Ha!


Studio Update: Wednesday 30th July

Memory Lane!


polymer clay leaves


I was digging around some old files today, archived from some hard-drive or other long since keeled over.

There are more dead hard disks around this house than dead flies. Which is saying something since cleaning dropped off of everyone's top ten years ago when it comes to priorities. I think about the same time that old mattress and shopping trolley appeared in the front garden actually.

Anyway... found some of my polymer clay work dating from 2000-2001!

This is one of my Millefiore cane slice collar. I made lots of these, as they were really fun. This one was inspired by Coleus leaves.

It can be scary and fun at the same time seeing photos of really old work. I think a bit like looking at really old photos of yourself. I think I still have some of those canes around in the studio too and they are still workable. Isn't Fimo wonderful stuff!




Studio Update: Sunday 27th July

But Wait...There's More!


lampwork glass beads 

Well the new beads sold out pretty quickly yesterday. Thank you all - I am sure you have no idea just how much I appreciate your support.

To those of you who missed out on the beads - I am sorry, but please keep trying you will find some available soon I am sure.

For instance, I just listed another 3 sets this morning (I told you I had been busy this week!!) and right now, they are all still available.

Please just check out the lampwork beads section to see what's new.




Studio Update: Saturday 26th July

Tyred and Exhausted!


I worked like a Trojan yesterday. Up at 6.30 am and working non-stop trying to get all the new Art beads photographed and the images processed.

I did stop around 5 pm and had a float in the pool for an hour on the Lilo. What bliss that was! Now, don't go thinking I am Victorian Beckham or something, the "pool" is one of those huge overgrown paddling pool type things. We bought it off eBay for 200 quid and it has been worth it's weight in gold.ceramic large hole beads 

When my accountant first came to see me, he looked into the garden, saw numerous inflatable killer whales and such-like and remarked "Oh, I see there are children in the house then!".

I had to sheepishly tell him the youngest person in my entire family was 25 and we were just a bit odd and liked pool toys. I'm pretty sure I noticed him make a quick scan of the major exits of the house at that point.

Anyway..... you don't need to hear all this rubbish. You need to hear about new Art beads right?

How about some ceramic ones then? These are some Tyres I have been working on. They have large 5 mm holes and I am in lurve with them. I cannot stop playing with them, they are so fiddle-with-able. You can find these are more in the Ceramic Beads section of the online store.


ceramic buttons  And talking of Ceramics - I finally have some of my new buttons to show too. I have even made a new category for them (you can see it in the main menu of the online store, 3rd from the top.)

I have listed some cute Rustic carded buttons and metal shank buttons too.

My buttons are not only fab for clothing or fabric crafts, but great for jewellery too. They make unusual focals or clasps, especially for seed bead work. Or why not take some inspiration from my Shabby Chic jewellery range to create some cool button earrings?


And as for new lampwork beads? I have some up my sleeve. I should have them listed over the next day or two, so keep 'em peeled!



Studio Update: Monday 21st July

Furry-Faced Cheek!


cheeky fox


Some of you may remember me showing you a picture of the very tame fox cub living in Mr Man's garden?

Well foxy is growing  - both physically and in his bravery. He comes and sits every morning outside the kitchen door, waiting for his brekky . Of course this means we will have to feed Foxy forever I guess, but don't worry - he is very good at hunting too. Too good if you ask me since I found a clump of something that was obviously once a bird on the patio this weekend!

As you can see, breakfast wasn't served quite quickly enough for him the other day, so he decided to walk into the kitchen and have a word with the chef! What bare fared cheek his has. Or, I suppose that should be a fur faced cheek.

He is very sweet and still loves sultanas above anything else. He will sit by our feet in the garden making puppy eyes at us until he has had his fill!


bead magazine 

Of course, I am assuming that it is food Foxy wants. But maybe I got it wrong? Maybe all he wanted after all was the latest issue of Bead magazine?

If so, fear not Foxy. All you need to do is to log on to the EJR Beads online store and check out the Books and Magazines section.

The latest issue of bead is in stock and apart from a whole bucket load of really cool projects, it also contains a feature on British Lampwork artists, including muggins here!

Also in stock now, the latest issue of Jewelry Artist. If you ever wanted to learn how to solder, well it's a great issue - lots of top tips and projects to get you started.




Studio Update: Thursday 17th July

Long time, no speak!



lampwork beadsYes, these pages have been a bit bare haven't they!

Sorry about that, I have just been busy in the studio the last week or so making lampwork beads, polymer clay beads and working on a new series of ceramic buttons too.

Most of the beads listed in the online store over the last couple of days have sold now. If you want to get advanced notifications when new beads go up, make sure you are on my mailing list. Check the FAQ on this site for details on how to sign up, and remember just setting up an account at the online store will not subscribe you. You have to opt in to the mailing list. So if you haven't been receiving email updates, why not log in at EJR Beads and check your account email notification settings (or just email me and I will check your account for you)

Meanwhile, as I type this set of lampwork beads is still available, but hurry! I am sure it won't be for long. (Oh and those are not whopping great bubbles, just a trick of the light and my poor photography skills I am happy to report!)




Studio Update: Friday 4th July

Caution: Purple Distraction Ahead!


lavender field There you are, driving down the road and you see a sign by the roadside. "Caution - Purple Distraction Ahead".

Is it a killer grape on the loose? Alice Walker doing a book signing? No. It's a lavender field. A beautiful, purple, fragrant lavender field.

Apparently the area around here was quite the world's hotspot for lavender production in the 18th and early 19th century.

Over the last four years, Mayfield Lavender have revived the tradition by setting up their English lavender oil company, growing all their lavender organically at their Oaks Park field.

organic lavender farming 



 Now as you know, lampworkers such as myself spend our days melting glass with big hot flames to make beads. Lavender oil is fantastic for the inevitable minor burns that we all get.

Lavender is also a well known for relieving stress. Actually, this morning I was feeling quite panic-attackey. After half an hour of walking around the lavender field taking photos, I was feeling a lot more relaxed and mellow!

So, if you are looking for anything to do with Lavender - do visit Mayfield's website. They have an online store too!





Studio Update: Friday 27th June

Read all about it!


step by step beads magazine I took off for a spot of birding today. I probably should not have, since I had a kiln's worth of lampwork beads needing cleaning and photographing. But all work and no play makes Emma way too grumpy so off I went, picnic in hand.

We saw some very cute baby Lapwings and other stuff too. I think Mr Man got a photo of them, so will show that off later in the week if he ever remembers to get the photo off his camera and give it to me.

Of course, all too soon it was over and we were back on our way home to get some work done. So what can I tell you about the online store today? Well, some new reads are in. The latest issue of Step-by-Step beads and Stringing magazine have arrived.

I think these are both awesome publications. Step-by-Step Beads just seems to get better and better. There is such a great mix of projects in each issue from stringing to beading. What I also like is that there is a good mix for different abilities too. Beginners will like how there is always something in there they can magage and learn new skills too. But with some magazines, more advanced beaders can sometimes get left out. Publishers are so often afraid of "scaring people off". Not so with Step-by-Step Beads as they always seem to have some meaty stuff in there too!

stringing magazine 

Stringing is a very different animal, but equally good. It is a magazine to inspire and provoke ideas in you rather than teach you techniques. So each issue has literally hundreds of different earring, necklace and bracelet designs. You can use them to inspire new designs in your own collections, plus get a really good feel for any new directions jewellery-making is going or see hot new trends.

 If you do jewellery parties and take custom orders, Stringing magazine can be invaluable. Customers can flick through it when discussing commissions and give you ideas of what they like, what they don't like etc. So you can both arrive at the desired design and be able to show different design concepts to your customer rather than trying to describe them. A really useful selling tool in itself since a picture really does paint a thousand words!

Find both these magazines and more in the Books and Magazines section of the online store.





Studio Update: Tuesday 24th June



amber claspsThe Baltic Amber section has been re-stocked and undergone a little facelift. I wanted to show the current colours of amber chip beads a little better in some spanking new photographs. Old favourites such as the River Rock are back in stock and there are also some new colours: Cola and Light Cola.

You asked for the chips to be a little smaller - so you got it! They are a tad cheaper than before. Well, as they say on the telly "every little helps!"

Don't forget Baltic Amber screw clasps are also available. Containing no metal at all, these clasps are completely hypo-allergenic and make the perfect finishing touch to your amber jewellery. What is more, they come in a multitude of different colours!

lampwork beads

"Wah, but I want lampwork. And cheap lampwork at that!"

Ok. You got that too! Just keep an eye on the lampwork beads section of the online store. I will be adding a few caboodles over the course of this evening and tomorrow. Please remember though, it is "first come, first served" on all my art beads. If someone else's order comes through before yours, they will get the beadies and you will get a refund. Even if they are first by just a minute or even a fraction of a minute. We is very democratic at EJR Towers. So the moral of this story is - you snooze, you lose!




Studio Update: Friday 20th June

Just Chillin'!


It's Friday evening, my work is done, the dogs are walked - I'm just chillin' and looking forward to the weekend. Ok, who am I kidding - I will be working again tomorrow if not this evening. It seems there is always *something* to be done when you work for yourself. Not that I am grumbling. I wouldn't have it any other way.jewelry artist magazine

Although (like most self-employed people) I do end up working pretty much every waking hour, there are many benefits. Because that does allow me to have a little time out at off-peak times. On Tuesday we went out for a spot of birdwatching. It was bliss. We trotted off down to our nearest nature reserve and sat in a hide eating cheese and onion rolls and watching the birds over the lake. I have never seen so many Kingfishers in my life. It was like a buy-one, get-one-free on kingfishers. I even saw kingfishers doing it, so we know a whole new generation is in the making ;-) They really are gorgeous birds. If you get a chance, get out birding this weekend. It is super-relaxing.

But back at EJR Towers - what is new here? I am still working on getting this weeks art beads finished up. Lots of beads are made, just everything seems to need sanding or polishing, cleaning or photographing.

Meanwhile you might be interested to know that the new issue of Jewelry Artist has arrived. There are some fantastic Art Clay projects in this issue, plus so much more.



Studio Update: Wednesday 18th June

They is gone!


Sorry folks, the freebie beads have been snapped up now. Do keep an eye out for future giveaways though!



Studio Update: Wednesday 18th June

Wot No Freebies?


free lampwork beads


My apologies to everyone waiting for the freebie beads I spoke of in my email newsletter. The trouble was, I couldn't get a nice photo of them the other day, so today I tried scanning them instead.

This set of freebies consists of a nice focal heart bead, in pale pink and clear. Plus a trio of scroller beads, all accented with palest periwinkle and blue. As you can see, it's not the best photo in the world - but it will do! These beads are just such a pale pink colour I couldn't really pick them up with the camera at all. But trust me they look a lot nicer in real life.

So, do you want them?

The first person to email me their full name and postal address will get them.


But let's say you miss out on the freebies - or maybe you are one of the people who likes to pay for your beads instead - what to do? Don't panic. I have another set of lampies to list in the online store later and hopefully the ceramic beads will be up tomorrow or the day after. Oh and did I tell you I have been working on some more polymer clay beads too?... I am so all over the place with my mediums this week



Studio Update: Wednesday 11th June

What's New Pussycat?


beads and beyond magazine If you are waiting for new art beads, I can only apologise and promise you there will be some new sets up for sale soon in the online store.

I have a kiln full of lampwork beads that I should get cleaned and photographed over the next few days. Also I have a whole slew of ceramic beads that I am working on. It will be a few days yet before those are ready I imagine, but just keep checking the online store won't you!

Meanwhile, do take a wander around the Books & Magazines section of the store. New issues are in for many of your favourite reads. There are still some copies left of Wire Jewelry and the new Beads & Beyond issue is out too.

I think this latest issue of Beads & Beyond is the best yet. Especially if you are a lampworker, since they have features on both the major glass bashes of the year (GBUK's bash and the Flame Off conference). Plus a whole host of stringing, wirework, art clay silver projects and more. Me like.




Studio Update: Friday 5th June

They're up!


polymer pod pendant by Emma Ralph

New lampwork beads, polymer clay beads and even some earrings too are now up in the online store!

Amongst the polymer clay goodies, I have also revisited one of my favourite designs - my Pod Pendants.

I haven't made one of these pendants for absolutely ages. I don't know why I stopped making them actually, since I really enjoyed doing this one. I teamed it with some great dyed silks which you would have thought were custom-dyed, the colours match so well!




Studio Update: Wednesday 4th June



I will have some new lampwork and polymer beads ready soon, I promise. Just gotta photograph them and list them in the online store. So hopefully you should see some new stuff up in the next couple of days.Jennifer Blunden Art

Meanwhile, look at this beautiful card that my friend Jennifer Blunden sent me for my recent birthday.  This card is another of her stunning original designs.

I just love Jennifer's characters. I am sure that she MUST have modelled this one on me. In my head, that is just what I look like when I check out the mirror (of course, you only have to scroll down the page a little to see the reality though ;-)

You can see more of Jennifer's talents in the customer gallery, where some of her jewellery is showcased, featuring her beautiful art on Fimo polymer clay.

Talking of Fimo - I am afraid I have a little bad news. I have heard from the manufacturers that the prices across the Fimo range are to rise at the end of this month. I will endeavour to keep my prices as low as I can, but please be aware that price changes are coming. The current prices are only good whilst stocks last.




Studio Update: Thursday 22nd May

And now for something completely different...


lampwork agate beads


Here is a new set of lampwork beads, up in the online store today.

The shape is my all-time favourite - Flamenco tabs, but the colours are very unlike me. Muted earthy stone-like colours throughout this set. They remind me of agates. I can just see these beads working beautifully with sterling silver, can't you?




Studio Update: Monday 19th May

To bid or not to bid, that is the question!



sra lampwork beads on ebay I have a new auction up on eBay. I have listed on the US eBay site this time around.

The UK eBay site has really messed around with the search function and the way they show listings. Why can't they just be happy enough with the millions they were already making? Why do they have to squeeze any extra bit of money they can out of that site at the expense of the sellers who made it what it is?

They now sell advertising space to outside websites. So when you search for something on ebay, you just get spoon-fed their advertisers' sites rather than easily being able to see all the store and auction items that might be suitable. It has become impossible to find anything on eBay UK lately.

So far the US site seems left un-changed. Since that is where most lampworkers list anyway, I thought I would go back to listing there. So for this auction, the price is in US Dollars don't forget, not GBP (which makes it a pretty sweet deal given the current exchange!) Also, postage and packing is free on this auction.



Studio Update: Wednesday 7th May

Argh NOT Cute!


Don't you hate it when you are walking in the woods, busy being in a foul mood and someone takes a photo? Mr Man took this awful photo of me yesterday.  I was wracking my brains trying to remember what it reminded me of. Yup - I'm Bigfoot!

Separated at birth?

Grumpy Emma     bigfoot


If you are wondering what I was pouting about, I was moody about having to go to the dentist today! Never mind, all over with now. And yes, I was brave.




Studio Update: Monday 5th May

Aw Cute!


fox cubOk then - how about a cute fest?

What about this little guy then? Isn't he adorable?

He is one of the 6 fox cubs currently using Mr Man's garden as feeding station and training ground (especially for those important night-time missions!)

This photo was taking in daylight however. With three of us sitting on the patio only a couple of metres from him, talking to him all the time. He sure does like those sultanas put out for the birds. He just laid on down and gobbled them all up, looking up obligingly for the camera each time I called to him.

I just don't think anyone has told him yet that he is meant to be a bit more wary! His mother is - she kept a much greater distance when I was in the garden. But this little guy? No, those sultanas are obviously worth being a bit braver for!